It’s easy for students to be intrigued by space and innovation and many of them set their sights on careers related to space exploration.
“I’ve always wanted to be a pilot and to be one of the first humans on Mars,” said Ryan Snider, a seventh-grader at Polo Park Middle School.
This week he and other students were treated to a visit by a NASA engineer.
“I’ve always liked space exploration,” Snider said. “Plus, getting to actually meet someone from NASA who’s working on the mars Orion spacecraft, that’s huge!”
Justin Karl is a NASA sub-system manager for commercial projects. Karl inspects about 60,000 parts belonging to Boeing and SpaceX, to make sure the parts perform properly and are safe for astronauts.
“I am definitely working my dream job,” Karl said. “I feel like this is the reward for a lot of years of hard work that I put into my education and early in my career.”
Robotics Club sponsor David Grad asked Karl to come speak to his students through the NASA Speaker’s Bureau. The bureau is composed of engineers, scientists, and other professionals.
Karl’s message: “If you follow what interests you and don’t give up, it’s completely achievable. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, we have a diverse workforce in NASA. My boss is a woman and English wasn’t the first language of many of my co-workers.”
For Snider, that’s inspiring to hear.
“Being an engineer allows you to problem solve, where there isn’t just one right answer,” Snider said. “The feeling of working with my hands and solving a problem that will benefit people, that excites me.”