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Former NASA Astronaut, NASA Scientist Speak at Campus
February 27, 2012
On Friday, Feb. 24, the Capitol Community welcomed two prestigious speakers to campus as part of the college’s STEM Leaders Program. Former NASA astronaut and commander of the International Space Station Frank Culbertson Jr. and NASA scientist Dr. Dalia Bach Kirschbaum each spoke in the Avrum Gudelsky Memorial Auditorium.
During his speech, Culbertson discussed project management and how it applies to all industries. Using examples from his NASA career, Culbertson detailed how students and professionals alike must always “aviate, navigate and communicate,” when taking on challenging tasks.
And while NASA astronauts and scientists are highly trained, they still make mistakes, just like anyone else.
“You have to assume you’re going to make mistakes, but you have to deal with them and move on,” Culbertson said. “Don’t dwell on mistakes.”
Culbertson also discussed the importance of patience and risk management. For every task, there is always the possibility that something can go wrong. That’s why it’s important to always analyze any inherent risks before attacking a project.
“Former NASA Astronaut Frank Culbertson provided an outstanding presentation integrating project management and his experience as a test pilot, fighter pilot, astronaut and commander of the International Space Station,” said Dr. Michael G. Gibbs, vice president for advancement and director of the Center for Space Science Education and Public Outreach.
Following Culbertson was Kirschbaum, who discussed NASA’s Tropical Rainforest Measurement Mission (TRMM) and its future mission, Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM). Kirschbaum detailed how satellites are used in these missions to track severe storms, landslides, flooding and even world health issues.
“Dr. Kirschbaum with the Global Precipitation Measurement provided a briefing regarding this important future NASA satellite mission,” Gibbs said. “The GPM builds on Capitol's prior work at our Space Operations Institute and the TRMM mission.”
During her lecture, Kirschbaum also highlighted the importance of project management. Her speech incorporated video footage of what the future launch sequence will look like when the satellite launches in 2014.
The STEM Leaders Program is a free, semester-long program that shows students the possibilities of a career in the science, technology, engineering and math fields. The program is available for Capitol College and local community college students.
“Students from both Capitol College and the Prince George's Community College had an experience of a lifetime,” Gibbs said.
The next event will be taking place on March 9 at Capitol College, and is titled “Cyber Awareness and Exploration.
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