I wanted to take some time to say thank you to Will for the kind introduction as well as thank X PRIZE staff for their incredible welcoming. I already feel like part of the team and am very excited to work for this foundation.
As Will mentioned, I will be managing the educational aspect of the Google Lunar X PRIZE and am confident that it will be a first-rate education program for youth, teachers and students of all ages.
In all of my past education programs, the main item that I highly believed in was “Telling the Story” to the public so that the Who, What, When, Where, How and Why could be explored. So to stay true to my practice, I thought it would be nice to tell you a bit of my personal story and my journey to the world of X PRIZE.
From an education background, I have a BA in Sociology and a Masters in Public Administration with a concentration is environmental resource management. I chose to pursue a career in the academic arena so that I could work on programs that look at the importance of reengineering policy to attempt to better serve its communities. My work experiences have primarily been at Land Grant Universities, Colleges and School Districts. I have collaborated with private businesses, non-profit agencies and government in developing specialized programs to help students advance in their education, and pursue careers maybe not so advertised in main stream society. Enhancing education as it relates to supporting the learning process, resilience projects, and establishing youth-adult partnerships have been my main priorities in my career.
One of the greatest challenges that I have seen in our education systems is the need to meet our world’s significant workforce shortages in the critical sciences, technology, engineering and math fields. Did you know that in the US alone, the Department of Education reported that only 18% of high school seniors are considered proficient in science and 5% of undergraduates earn degrees in science and engineering? I feel that it is imperative that educators work with industry to tackle this issue. When I learned of the X PRIZE Foundation and the GLXP race, I thought…. this is the answer! There is no better way to get youth, teachers and students involved in STEM education than to teach them about the worldwide GLXP contest and engage them in mentor-based programs that encourages innovation.
So, early this year I interviewed with X PRIZE Leadership was offered and accepted the position of Education Manager for the Google Lunar X PRIZE. I would like to say that it was my qualifications that landed me the position, but for some innate reason I think the solar system played a part as well. As many of you know my name “Chanda” is derived from the Sankrit, Hindi and Indian languages for “MOON.” So I think I am on the right career path!
I look forward to hearing from all of the moon enthusiasts that are interested in the GLXP education program. You can find me on twitter at: ChandaGo or send me a comment on The Launch Pad.