When I first found out that NASA would be holding their Innovation Summit Conference in support of the STS 133 Launch, I could not register fast enough. I have never seen a shuttle launch and knowing that this could be one of the last opportunities to experience one; I have been eagerly waiting for this week for a couple of months. As I write this blog with the knowledge that I am now probably going to miss the launch because of shuttle electrical issues, I have absolutely no regrets about traveling out here to Florida. The VIP tours around Kennedy Space Center were great! Seeing Discovery’s STS 133 Launch Pad was amazing! Meeting Astronauts and TV legends was cool; but what impressed me the most was that NASA showed educational partners from all over the US that they are committed to collaboration and information sharing to inspire youth to be our future innovative leaders of tomorrow.
Some of the areas for innovative partnerships will include partnering with NASA to leverage WOW factor programs, improve inquiry based programs, leverage technology to maximize outreach, and enroll private industry to help with STEM education.
Leland D Melvin, NASA Associate Administrator for Education relayed to the audience that it is about giving children images that they can be inspired about.
Actress Nichelle Nichols shared her experiences of being on Star Trek and how she wanted to inspire females and African Americans with her character- Lieutenant Uhura. Nichelle worked for NASA in the late 1970's until the late 1980's to help recruit new astronauts like Sally Ride and Guion Bluford.