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Students See Their Future at Strategic Space and Defense 2008

Students See Their Future at Strategic Space and Defense 2008 Three hundred middle and high school students from the Omaha area recently had the opportunity to participate in Strategic Space and Defense 2008 during a special education and community outreach student program. The Space Foundation, along with the NASA Nebraska Space Grant, coordinated the program to inspire students in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to foster an interest in science for these students. Through generous monetary contributions from the NASA Nebraska Space Grant, Lockheed Martin, and ATK, students were able to visit with industry professionals and get a glimpse into the future of the aerospace industry, a future that may well include them.

Students and teachers participated in many exciting opportunities during the daylong event including a visit with former astronaut Brian Duffy of Lockheed Martin; a presentation on careers in the space industry by Iain Probert, vice president, education, Space Foundation; and workshops on the electromagnetic spectrum and meteorology conducted by Space Foundation aerospace education specialists Bryan DeBates and Bobby Gagnon.

The highlight of the visit was the student exhibit center tours where students had the opportunity to visit with and ask questions of the participating companies at specific "Destination Booths." Raytheon supplied the students with "goodie" bags to carry the materials they accumulated during the day. Many discussions and questions centered on what those students need to do to prepare for a career in a science-related field, particularly in the space industry. In follow-up discussions with teachers, many commented that students can't stop talking about what an amazing opportunity it was for them.

Many thanks to The Aerospace Corporation; Analytical Graphics, Inc.; Boeing; Lockheed Martin; Missile Defense Agency; Northrop Grumman; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne; and the U.S. Air Force who chose to be "Destination Booths" and help support this program. Thank you to everyone who supported this outreach to the Omaha area students and for inspiring, enabling, and propelling the next generation of explorers.

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