Beating the Odds Foundation held its annual student event in cooperation with NASA called the Quarterbacks of Life®/NASA Research Challenge on May 12, 2021. Due to the pandemic, the first-ever virtual event was produced from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The event was sponsored by ASRC Federal (http://www.asrcfederal.com).
“We are very excited to sponsor this year’s Quarterbacks of Life event alongside NASA,” said ASRC Federal President and CEO Jennifer Felix. “It is vital that we, as Americans, ensure our young people experience STEM programing that stirs their imagination and creates opportunities that will lead them to a rewarding and meaningful career in STEM.”
97 students, with a grade level range of 2nd to 12th grade, participated in the research challenge. Participating schools included: Bellwood-Antis Middle School (Bellwood, PA), Hollidaysburg Area Jr. High School (Hollidaysburg, PA), Antelope Valley Learning Academy (Palmdale, CA), Frazier Middle/High School (Perryopolis, PA), Laurel Highlands Middle School (Uniontown, PA), Burns Science and Technology Charter School (Oak Hill, FL), Ringgold Middle School (Monongahela, PA), and E.R. Martin Middle School (Lancaster, PA).
This year’s challenge focused on the life of Retired United States Navy Captain, engineer, test pilot and former NASA astronaut, Scott Altman. Through the example of Altman’s life challenges and successes, students could see that anything is possible.
“It’s an honor to share my story as a child dreaming of flying and becoming a pilot and then flying higher and faster as a NASA astronaut,” said Scott “Scooter” Altman, ASRC Federal Space operating group president. “It is important to me to share the successes but also the challenges I had along the way and the wonderful adventures that ultimately resulted. I’d like to encourage the next generation to think expansively about their future and boldly reach for the stars!”
In 2013, Beating the Odds Foundation teamed up with NASA to create a dynamic, exciting, and experiential learning opportunity that engages students in the use of a powerful Blueprint for Success and a NASA classroom research challenge. What started in 2013 has become a yearly experience for students with new and exciting research challenges. While the various subject matters focus on STEM, the overall universal appeal is demonstrating to students that individuals just like them work for NASA.