Through a variety of audiovisuals, Lower School students document their class experiences.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Making STEM Real: Skype Chat with NASA Robotics Engineer! (Written in Collaborative Teams)

Preface: Ms. DeLatte is an MIT graduate in aerospace engineering, and she also interned at NASA’s JPL and KSC. She is currently part of the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office (i.e. testing) at NASA’s Goddard Center.
          What we just did was awesome!!!  It was so good we can barely describe how we felt. It all began last Friday afternoon when Ms. Margot turned on her computer, and all was silent. Everyone was eager to know what was happening. Suddenly we saw a FACE in the screen!!! It was... the engineer Danielle DeLatte…Tan, tan, tan!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes! We Skype chatted with an engineer who works at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, USA!  Her name is Danielle DeLatte and she studied robotics and engineering in college, even though when she was little some people told her that she might not be able to meet her goals. But this didn’t stop her from becoming a space engineer! Actually, when she was in elementary school she loved science and math, but she didn’t even know that engineering existed (we do!). When DG asked what Ms. DeLatte did when people told her this, she said to “ignore them and prove them wrong.” How did she reach her ultimate goal of becoming an engineer?
“Passion, making goals, and taking advantage of opportunities”, said Ms. DeLatte.

 We had a lot of questions for her about engineering, and she knew everything about it. Right now she’s working on a robotic arm, like the Canada arm that is on the International Space Station (ISS). We learned that it can be dangerous to be close to a robot when it is functioning, so they put a light as a warning signal for people to not get close to it when it’s working. We got to see it in action! She also introduced us to her team of mechanical engineers, and she showed us some of the satellites that have been built at Goddard. She also told us about her favorite project, which was working on a rough terrain wheelchair project at MIT. Her ultimate goal is to have humans work with robots in space.

One of our many questions was about why the earth is hotter than outer space, and we found out that it’s because earth is surrounded by an atmosphere. Our questions were intelligent, and our answers were good too, like:

1)    Why did she create a lesson to make satellites out of candy instead of recycled items? (Because it’s more fun for kids).

2)   Who inspired her? (She got to meet Sally Ride!).

3)   What was it like to graduate from the International Space University in France? (Very special, and everything is in English). 

It was the BEST half hour ever and, sadly, we had to end the call because of time. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! We think that Ms. Danielle is a great role model, and speaking with her was a unique experience. We were very lucky to chat with her. ☺☺