SOFIA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassador Program Highlights

[Music]>>It’s 6:15, this is flight number 156.
>>Flight number 163>>Welcome to the mission brief for flight
168.>>Students that I don’t even have, if I walk
across campus, they just know me as the NASA person. It’s a great thrill for me just to
get these guys excited and thinking about space.>>I’ve been in the trenches for 27 years,
and kids aren’t any easier to motivate and I think seeing this and seeing us all here
would help motivate them. [Aircraft taking off]>>And it should be moving…
>>Door moving…>>Door open…
>>Copy… [Music]>>What you see here has never been seen before.
>>This is exciting, this is cutting edge, this is things that people are going to learn
about in the future. If I could talk to my high school students right now, I would just
say that, if you look around, you’re going to see why hard work and science and math
are worth the effort. This could be in your future too.
>>If I were teaching my kids right now, I’d want to tell them to keep their doors open
and to really embrace all the opportunities that are given to them, and try new things.
>>To me, it’s all about asking the questions. We all have questions, we don’t know everything,
so I want to give my classes the best tools to ask questions and then the best methods
to then go and find their answers.>>SOFIA’s the only observatory capable of
getting this information right now.>>The difference between this and a commercial
airline- if we don’t stay exactly on our plan, the guys down below aren’t getting their science.
>>So it’s a complicated dance, isn’t it?>>It sure is.
>>Although I’m a teacher, I’m also a student as well.
>>How often does a teacher get to be excited about learning something? Where stars come
from, protostars, nebulae, proto-planetary disks, supernovas, black holes, large and
super massive. If you look at the flight list that we’re going to be studying tonight, every
one of those is on this list. For me, this is a way to kind of practice what I’ve been
preaching and to see how this data is collected and share that with the students.
>>I, myself, have learned so much just about the process of science, and that in itself
is something you can bring back to the classroom.>>I think a big part of this is seeing how
everyone works together as a team. So we’ll use that as an example for working as a team
getting projects done out in the observatory at the high school.
>>If somebody asks why is SOFIA important, I mean, it’s a giant telescope but you
can put on different faces. SOFIA has six different options that you can change and
modify overnight, and I think that that’s really important for every student to understand,
it doesn’t just have one function.>>I can’t wait to promote STEM education and
STEM careers, and especially for girls.>>You see women acting in roles as mission
director and as specialists and telescope operators and all these different jobs that
you don’t even know about when you’re in high school.
>>When they see that I’m the type of a person that goes out and I do things and I really
get into the passion of what this is all about, I think that they will also start to
feel that passion>>It’s kind of nice that I can use this as
a reference point when my students say, Mr. Jenkins, why are we learning this? And I can
give them a specific example. And I can point to that specific example and I say, here,
this person does this for a living and they love it.
>>I see 192 students in an average week, not counting clubs and different activities that
come into my classroom, and just me giving the outreach to them and instilling the importance
of scientific research and how we don’t know what we’re discovering, how it’s going to
impact us in the future, that it’s an investment and it could turn around tenfold and then
having them go home to their parents and explain the same thing and go on to their parents’
friends. I mean, it just sets this cascade effect of more people learning.>>If anyone out there has an opportunity to be involved in anything along these lines.
>>Come up here. Do this kind of stuff.>>They really make you feel special. [Airplane landing] [Music]

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