It’s harder to imagine making science and technology more relevant than as a scientist at NASA, solving problems on a minute-by-minute basis, many times with people’s lives at risk. Imagine all of the people that needed to use problem-solving skills – with no time to spare – to get the Apollo 13 astronauts back safely. Conversely, space exploration can sometimes be tragic, as with the Space Shuttle Challenger accident.
Yet, it was because of the Challenger accident that STEM education was born. “We pioneered STEM education,” says Dr. Lance Bush, who leads the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. “The families of the astronauts wanted to memorialize their family members in a very meaningful way. They created what at the time was a revolutionary way of engaging and inspiring students in math and sciences.”