NASA Astronaut, Astrobiologist, and Astronomer Led All-School Assembly
During Thursdays Reflective Practice, Kehillah was fortunate enough to welcome three incredible speakers from NASA, to our halls, it’s fair to say they were out of this world (bios below).
Brian Day – Astronomer, Lynn Harper – Astrobiologist and Col. Yvonne Cagle – Astronaut, greeted students and staff briefly and opened the floor right away to a Q & A that could have comfortably continued for the rest of the day. Students didn’t shy away from asking deep, complicated questions and the guests enjoyed volleying back insightful, rich answers that painted a detailed picture of the wonder of our universe. Balancing scientific fact with the reality that as much as we know now, there is so much more to learn. Questions like, “How do you think the universe began?” and, “Do you think there is alien life out there?” were addressed with agility by these knowledgeable individuals. Citing facts, pointing to decades of experience in the field, we tapped directly into the experts to hear what science can teach us about these oh so human curiosities.
Maria Vicenty, Kehillah’s Biology teacher, facilitated the talk which should be the first of many as it was well received by all involved. With a special ‘small world’ connection to our Chef Hillary, who’s grandfather was a beloved astronomy teacher of Lynn Harper’s, listeners walked away with a renewed interest to go outside and look at the stars. Reflecting on our place in the universe, looking up to the stars and the wonder that they hold, we are so fortunate to have access to incredible speakers such as these.
Brian Day – Astronomer – Brian Day is the Lead for Citizen Science and Community Development at the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI). In this role, he coordinates programs with numerous internal and external partnering organizations, focusing on providing opportunities for students and the public to directly participate in NASA science and exploration. He currently acts as SSERVI’s project manager for NASA’s Lunar Mapping and Modeling Portal, a set of tools designed for mission planning, lunar science, and public outreach. https://sservi.
Lynn Harper – Astrobiologist – Lynn D. Harper is Lead of Integrative Studies for both the Emerging Commercial Space Office (Level 2) reporting to the Office of the Chief Technologist at NASA Headquarters as well as the NASA Ames Research Center Space Portal, a consortium to promote commercial space development for public benefit reporting to the NASA Ames Partnerships Directorate. Harper was awarded NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal for her role as initiating founder of the science of Astrobiology and her service as the first Lead for Astrobiology Advanced Concepts and Technologies. https://www.
Col. Yvonne Cagle – astronaut – Dr. Yvonne Darlene Cagle is an astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and consulting professor for Stanford University’s department of cardiovascular medicine and its department of electrical engineering. In addition, Dr. Cagle also has served as a certified senior aviation medical examiner for the Federal Aviation Administration and a qualified advanced cardiac life support instructor. Recipient of the National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Achievement Medal, United States Air Force Air Staff Exceptional Physician Commendation and National Technical Association Distinguished Scientist Award, Dr. Cagle began her medical career as a certified flight surgeon. She was actively involved in mission support of aircraft providing medical support and rescue in a variety of aeromedical missions. Dr. Cagle has contributed ongoing data to the longitudinal study on astronaut health and served as a consultant for space telemedicine. https://www.
airforcemedicine.af.mil/News/ Display/Article/1448142/from- flight-surgeon-to-astronaut– air-force-colonel-dr-yvonne- cagle/