Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts presented in Washington DC at NASA Headquarters
On July 8, 2014, Da Vinci students, Marissa Harp, Victor Calleros, Felix Avila, and Jacqueline Dominguez and sponsors, Mr. Medina and Mrs. Sanchez were invited to the NASA Headquarters in Washington DC by the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH). Dr. Matt Turner and Dr. P.J. Benfield from UAH were rewarding the students for placing 1st in their divisions in a program called InSPIRESS, (The Innovative System Project for the Increased Recruitment of Emerging STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Students. This is a project where high school students develop and design a scientific payload to be accommodated on a spacecraft.
At the NASA Headquarters the students were invited to set up their presentations and models in one of the conference rooms. NASA employees visited the students’ exhibit gallery to listen to the youngsters’ account of their research and project development. Interaction between the NASA scientists and the Da Vinci students covered an array of topics from the employees learning about Da Vinci’s high school engineering framework, and the Da Vinci students hearing about top level careers in NASA. These young engineering students were able to present to some very interesting professionals, such as Jim Green (Director of NASA Planetary Science) and Kristen Erickson (Director of Strategic Communications for NASA HQ). As some of the employees were exiting, they expressed their overwhelming positive impression by commenting on keeping some these students at NASA based on their presentations. Da Vinci students proudly represented our mission statement: To prepare students to design their future, with excellence! Congratulations to all the team members that worked together to win nine trophies in this prestigious engineering competition!
“I truly enjoyed my experience on this trip to D.C. Not only were we able to meet fellow competitors from Alabama and see the many historical sites of the city, but also to meet many interesting individuals who held prestigious titles at NASA HQ. This experience was definitely something I looked forward to and something that I learned a great deal from. My favorite part of this experience was speaking with the Head of Design of NASA; she was very impressed with the way our poster and project came together. She stated, “The layout you have chosen works perfectly with the information you are giving and your color scheme works wonderfully.”~Marissa Harp~
“This was such an amazing experience because of the simple fact that we were able to meet people who work at NASA, like former astronauts and engineers who make the NASA missions possible. All of these engineers would give us advice on the strategies to use when confronted with a challenge, like the one we confronted in our project. They even shared anecdotes with us from their time working at NASA. I am really grateful to have been given this life changing opportunity because it truly was extraordinary.”~Jacqueline Dominguez~
“The trip that I was fortunate enough to take to our nation’s capital was an unforgettable experience. Coming from El Paso, Texas, I had the opportunity to see many wonderful monuments in Washington D.C. The best part of this experience was meeting many bright, young students who were also winners at the InSpiress competition. Presenting my team’s project design to the many engineers and staff of the NASA HQ was marvelous. As a member of the Latino community, and a student from Da Vinci School for Science and the Arts I am lucky to be given the opportunity to participate in a magnificent engineering program which is so helpful to my future. Overall D.C was an amazing trip and a memorable experience. I hope I get to have the same opportunity once more time in my senior year.” ~ Felix Avila~