NASA Astronaut Meets with Teachers at Troy University

Posted: Tuesday, 13 November 2007

DOTHAN – Wiregrass teachers picked up some out of this world ideas for motivating young learners, during Aerospace Day 2007 at Troy University. They also met an astronaut.

Former NASA Mission Specialist Winston Scott and Inventor Dr. Zoon (Bill Holden) were the featured speakers at the one-day event sponsored by TROY’s Wiregrass Math & Science Consortium.

Scott shared personal details of his twenty-four days in space with an auditorium full of teachers and students from area schools. During missions in 1996 and 1997, the astronaut participated in three spacewalks totaling more than nineteen hours.

These days, Scott’s mission involves education.

“It is important to all of us who work in the space business that we do what we can to support education,” Scott said, “because education prepares the next generation of space professionals. There is nothing more exciting and fascinating the next generation can do with their lives than go into science and technology.”

While at the Dothan Campus, Scott also autographed copies of his book, Reflections from Earth Orbit. He said space travel has changed the way he views the world.

“I don’t think you can fly in space and not have it affect your perspective,” Scott noted. “I began to think of Earth as home kind of the way you think of your house as home. That is why I support efforts to take care of our home, to preserve it and keep it clean.”

After hearing about Scott’s space adventures, Dr. Zoon showed teachers how to design and launch their own rockets. Through his line of educational videos produced by the Pitsco Corporation, Dr. Zoon helps educators all over the country turn simple items like straws, string and tissue paper into hands-on projects with the power to reach young people.

“Many students are kinesthetic learners. They learn through doing rather than through a lecture or reading,” Dr. Zoon said. “Many students don’t connect with a concept until they touch it with their hands and make it work.”

The Wiregrass Math & Science Consortium is funded by the Alabama Commission on Higher Education and housed at Troy University. For more information about the Consortium, contact Sandy Armstrong or Christina Johnson at (334) 983-6556, ext. 371.