On May 5, 2022, Beating the Odds Foundation held its 7th annual student event in cooperation with NASA. The event was held at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. This year’s Quarterbacks of Life/NASA Research Challenge was sponsored by ASRC Federal, TriMas Aerospace, US Foods, Walmart, Keller Engineers, and Agenda.


“TriMas Aerospace is honored to sponsor this year’s Quarterbacks of Life event alongside NASA,” said TriMas Aerospace President John Schaefer. “This event and others like it are an essential way in which we can connect our youth to the exciting and dynamic world of STEM, allowing them to engage and explore with the potential to stir their imagination and curiosity, and ultimately point them towards a career pursuit in a STEM field.”


105 middle and high school students participated in the research challenge this year. Student teams were from Albert Gallatin High School (Uniontown, PA), Albert Gallatin North/South Middle Schools (McClellandtown, PA/Point Marion, PA), Antelope Valley Learning Academy (Lancaster, CA), Ashe County Middle School (Warrensville, NC), Bellwood-Antis Middle School (Bellwood, PA), Frazier Middle/High School (Perryopolis, PA), Hollidaysburg Area Jr. High School (Hollidaysburg, PA), and Laurel Highlands Middle School (Uniontown, PA).


The challenge focused on the life of commercial astronaut Chris Sembroski. Through the example of Sembroski’s life challenges and successes, students can see that anything is possible.


“I am thrilled to have the opportunity to share the story and mission of Inspiration4,” said Chris Sembroski, Inspiration4 Astronaut, Automated Systems, Integration, and Data Analytics Specialist. “I experienced so many challenges and incredible breathtaking moments leading up to T-minus zero when I finally launched into space on top of a SpaceX Falcon9 rocket aboard a Dragon spacecraft. Being able to encourage students of all ages to reach for their goals and to provide them a sense that the impossible dream can become a reality is so important. We may not all want to go to space, but all of us can do amazing things to help build a better future for each other here on earth and beyond.”


The day consisted of a tour in the morning, with presentations in the afternoon. During the tour, students got to visit the Webb TV Studio; AERONET (AErosol RObotic NETwork), an international ground-based remote sensing network, to study the impact of aerosols in the Earth system; and the Spacecraft and Integration Complex, a suite where spacecraft and their instruments are built in an enormous “cleanroom,” and tested for environmental conditions generated by ground handling, launch, and orbital flight.