About 100 St. Petersburg College ethics and education students traveled to the Kennedy Space Center in February to experience a simulated launch, talk to an astronaut, tour the Vehicle Assembly Building and stand in absolute awe before the space shuttle Atlantis… but these were just a few of the experiences made available to them during their up close and personal tour of NASA.
From an ethics perspective, students were confronted with several dilemmas during their visit and began considering issues for which they were not previously aware. For example, student Kaitlyn Moore now wonders, “Who owns the rights to drill on the moon?” Before visiting the space center, she had never thought about drilling rights on the moon and she is concerned that the right people make ethical decisions about space issues.
Education students were introduced to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) lessons they can use in their future classrooms. They also learned about a wealth of resources available to teachers through NASA and internships available to new college graduates.
Engineering student Ervin Taho says visiting the Kennedy Space Center “gave me a lot of motivation in the pursuit of my career. Science has changed human history forever and it couldn’t be any more noticeable than visiting NASA and personally taking a look at the great accomplishments the world’s brightest minds have put together.”
The highlight of the day for most visitors was encountering the space shuttle Atlantis. Student George Wood, a future science teacher, said seeing Atlantis “sent chills down my spine and pride through my spirit.”
The NASA field trip was organized for ethics students by Dr. Adeniji Odutola, Chair of the Ethics Department and sponsored by the Ethics Department. Dr. Odutola organized the trip based on his experiences traveling with SPC education students. Future trips to NASA for ethics students will be offered in future semesters.