NASA will host a town hall to discuss the Mars Rover Project and the importance of math and science in the world today. East alumni Nagin Cox, engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and member of the Curiosity Flight Team, will give the presentation with sophomore Clara Ma, who named the rover Curiosity. This presentation will be broadcasted on the SMSD site as well as be attended by groups of students from all over the district on Oct. 19.
The presentation will include a power point about the Rover by Cox and then time in which Cox and Ma will describe their experiences with the Mars Rover project. The presentation will wrap up with a Q and A session. After the presentation, Cox will stay for lunch and host a workshop focused on the Mars rover’s various elements and design for the representatives of the five high school Robotics programs. Cox is coming back next weekend to East for her high school reunion and reached out to the district to offer the option of doing a presentation with Ma.
“I’ve spoken all over the world about these Mars missions and so I wanted to give back something to the Shawnee Mission district, especially because it’s such an amazing coincidence that the young lady who named the rover attend the same high school I did,” Cox said.
This presentation will be attended by 5th graders from Belinder and Tomahawk and 8th graders from Indian Hills. Representatives from the five high schools’ robotics teams and students enrolled in the advanced level courses of the district’s Project Lead the Way Signature Program will be present as well. The remaining seats in the auditorium are open to East students. Associate Superintendent for Communications, Leigh Anne Neal, is the event coordinator and is enthusiastic about this opportunity for the district.
“The content of the presentation supports a number of educational concepts in our fifth-grade, eighth-grade, and high school science curriculum, as well as our pre-engineering courses and robotics programs,” Neal said. “We are pleased to be able to highlight the success and work of a Shawnee Mission alumna who may serve as an inspiration to students interested in science and the possible pursuit of a career in one of the STEM-focused fields.”
Students who are interested in attending can acquire a special seminar pass from the main office. All science teachers’ seminars will be able to attend and then there will be approximately 150 other seats open to students with the special seminar passes.The schedule on Oct. 19 will be 2, seminar, 4, 6 in order to accommodate the 10 a.m. presentation. Cox will also be speaking at her elementary school Belinder and at Indian Hills on Thursday, and then at the Colonial Church on Saturday and Science City on Sunday.