Creative fun in
the palm of your hand.
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Rated: E · Other · Experience · #2181149
Piece for School I have to present

          “5, 4, 3-Main Engines Start. 2, 1, Liftoff. Flight, that’s liftoff.” As I sat in mission control, I watched the screens in awe as I had just contributed to what would go down as that session’s best mission. At that point, I was hooked. My earliest exposure to spaceflight was at Space Camp, and it’s why I’m here today.

         Jenn Colella, playing Beverley Bass in the modern musical “Come From Away,” tells the audience, “I was eight when I told them that I’d be a pilot.” Well, I’m not a pilot, and I was a little younger when I knew what I’d be doing for the rest of my life. However, my story bares striking similarities. When I was six, my first-grade teacher assigned us to create a constellation. What I wrote could’ve gone down as either a premonition for a career in the arts, or one in space. Other students wrote short sentences about their constellation-“the snake,” “the cup” “the butterfly.” I wrote a 4 page essay on “Super Elmo” who’s cape got caught in the stars. Now my parents could’ve guessed I’d be either a writer, or a space geek. Since I’m here, giving a speech I wasn’t all that excited to give, you can guess which they encouraged. My parents encouraged my interest in aviation and space, even though, at the time, there were very few female role models in the field. My parents took me to the airport early in the morning to watch the planes depart, and enrolled me in after-school STEM programs. My parents drove me to Girl Scout Astronomy events, and, perhaps most importantly, took me to Parent-Child Space Camp.
          Girl Scouts and Space meshed often through the years that followed. Girl Scouts introduced me to several activities-the local observatory Open Houses, Astronomy nights, Winter Solstice observances, and working with the local chapter of SWE-first as a brownie, attending their events, then as crew as a Cadette, Senior, and Ambassador. I learned about engineering, space, astronomy, and met astronauts at the local airport and never stopped asking questions, to the point, I’m sure, that I drove my parents bonkers. I had teachers who encouraged me, getting me a job as a lab assistant to a biology teacher, and taking me on field trips usually reserved for their older classes to see speakers that might interest me. The astronomy teacher let me hang out in the planetarium and taught me how to use and clean the equipment. She would always make sure I knew about the events at the planetarium and stayed on me to never give up. Without her, I might not be here today.
         { In Middle and High School, I attended Space Camp through the Girl Scouts Destinations program. 2010 was my first year. It was the first time I flew without my parents-and I was about 14. To be honest, I think I handled it better than my mom did, and I was only leaving for a week. I was assigned to the Mission Control room for one of our three missions as the Instrumentation and Communications Officer-INCO. Like Beverley Bass, standing at the edge of the airport fence line, sitting in that mission control simulation, I made up my mind then and there that I would be a mission controller, and nothing would keep me back. I had a lot of people tell me I couldn’t-my guidance counselor, when I was waiting to decide where I’d go to college until I had heard back from Embry-Riddle, told me to be realistic, that I’d never work for NASA. But I had a drive, and I had the memory of those Space Camp Missions where we’d achieved what we set out to do. The mission that first gave me experience in Mission control won our team the “best mission” pin. I still look back to a photo of us, considerably younger-me with braces, my best friend with her hair knotted and falling out of her ponytail with that notorious camp hair, taken right before our first mission, in our bright orange flight suits, and remember that feeling of camaraderie between us. I remember Graduation day, standing on that stage with a group of strangers who had become friends in the last week, in our blue Space Academy Shirts, mismatched shorts, and sneakers, just as proud as my teammates at what we together had accomplished. I harkened back to that moment in my Embry-Riddle Admissions essay, describing it as one of my most defining moments-and, five years since I wrote that essay, still identify it that way-and I experienced that moment a decade ago. Now I’m here, and 3 months from getting the degree that would allow me to achieve the goal I set seventeen years ago as a six year old at Parent-Child Space Camp. While some people might disagree, I think I, like Beverley Bass, can say with certainty that you’re never too young to dream, and achieve, big dreams because there should be nothing in between you and the sky.
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