The Beating the Odds Foundation partnered with NASA for its second annual event yesterday at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC.
This educational partnership between Beating the Odds Foundation and NASA presents students with an experience that allows them to see that what they are learning in school shapes their success in school, life, and a career.
Beating the Odds Foundation’s Quarterbacks of Life® Student Success and Leadership Program contains an educational activity that focuses on a current NASA project. This year, the activity focused on a radiation shield for the Orion Spacecraft. Members of the Quarterbacks of Life® Student Leadership Team worked year-long on researching matters to be used for a radiation shield on the Orion Spacecraft. While the project focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education (STEM), the cornerstone of the project was based on the Quarterbacks of Life® Student Success and Leadership Program’s Stepping Stones to Success – Dreams & Goals, Self-Awareness & Resource Review, Team Support, Decide & Plan, and Positive Mental Attitude.131 middle/ high school students, along with teachers and administrators, from seven Pennsylvania school districts were in attendance for the event.
These students serve on their school’s Quarterbacks of Life Student Leadership Team. Represented school districts were Bellwood-Antis School District, Carmichaels Area School District, Frazier School District, Southeastern Greene School District, The School District of Philadelphia, Washington School District, and West Greene School District. Beating the Odds Foundation and NASA joined together to offer this educational and inspirational experience not only for the students in attendance but all students across Pennsylvania via a Live Broadcast.
During yesterday’s event students got to meet, listen, and ask questions to Jason Crusan, Director, Advanced Exploration Systems Division for NASA. Crusan manages 500-600 Civil Servants with an active portfolio of 20-30 engineering and design projects. He leads integration with the Space Technology Mission Directorate and the other Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate programs such as the International Space Station and the Exploration System Division Programs – in short, he develops the innovative approaches needed to maximize NASA’s access to new technologies and capabilities for human spaceflight.
Crusan spoke to the students about achievements and failures on NASA projects and the importance of having a team to help you overcome those failures. He said sometimes you have to fail to figure out the boundaries.The students also got to hear from another very important person at NASA, Nujoud Merancy, who traveled from The Space Center Houston to be with the students for the day. As the Mission Planning and Analysis lead for the Vehicle Integration Office, Nujoud is responsible for the sequence of mission events and ensuring Orion’s power and thermal systems performance will meet mission needs. The coolest part of her job is building a new spacecraft that will take humans further than ever before – doing something that has not been done in the last 40 years.
Merancy told the students that she never thought coming from the state of Washington, that one day she would be in Houston working for NASA. She told the students she never knew a person who worked at NASA until she worked there herself. It’s a long way from home for a lot of people who work at NASA, she stated. People come from all over the country and world to work at NASA.Special guests also included Pro Football Hall of Famer and Founder of Sports 1 Marketing, Warren Moon; and CEO of Sports 1 Marketing and author of Connected to Goodness, David Meltzer.
A special video message from NASA Administrator, Charles Bolden, was delivered to the students at the beginning of the day’s events. The message surrounding the day was to work hard, study hard, dream big, and don’t be afraid of failure. While this special project/ event focuses on STEM, one of the most beneficial learning experiences to students in this program is demonstrating to them that the Stepping Stones to Success are fundamental in any aspect of life or career, be it an engineer or professional football player.
After the live broadcast from NASA Headquarters, students traveled to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD to participate in various activities, attend a Science on a Sphere Show and visit the permanent exhibits at the Visitor Center.as the
“I got involved with the Beating the Odds Foundation in 2007 when I heard the Foundation’s mission. This program is all about helping young kids; I’m in a position now where I can give advice to young people of what I’ve learned throughout my journey. Beating the Odds Foundation and Quarterbacks of Life is all about providing young people with knowledge from people who have experienced adversity in their lives and persevered,” Warren Moon.
“The Beating the Odds Foundation has allowed me to realize that no matter what obstacles get in your way, you can overcome anything. Through the Stepping Stones to Success, I have realized that anything is possible with the right dream and mental attitude. Being part of this organization has helped me to see that there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day. I am constantly being inspired to be the best person I can be. Presenting to NASA was the biggest thing I’ve ever been a part of, and I am so proud of what we have accomplished. I cannot thank you enough. I will never forget what this great organization has done for me,” Alivia, Bellwood-Antis Middle School.