March 9, 2017-Livermore, CA – Students from Granada High School directly engaged with NASA engineers using state-of-the-art telepresence equipment recently installed at the school. Computer Science teacher Miguel Baez arranged for three of his classes to talk with NASA engineers at three different NASA locations throughout the day on Friday, February 24. Students learned what the engineers’ work was like, and gained insight into how to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Students first spoke with Caryn Long, Ph.D. and Jill Marlowe, Director of the Research Directorate at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. They also met with Cinda Chullen, Advanced Space Suit Project Manager, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Students learned the variety of STEM skills that are crucial to NASA’s mission, and they learned how their own education could prepare them for work in engineering fields.

As part of “Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day,” students were able to meet with Ali Guarneros Luna, Aerospace & Systems Engineer, Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Program Director, at NASA Ames Research Center. Luna, an immigrant from Mexico, helped Granada students understand both the challenges faced by immigrants as well as the ways in which she used determination to succeed as an engineer. Mr. Baez noted that when one of his students, also from Mexico, asked Luna about her work, “Luna answered the question in Spanish, which made it so authentic and completely personal not only to my student, but to all the other immigrant students and people that might have been in the live feed at the time.”

The online conversations were shared with students at several other schools throughout the country, and are available on YouTube for future viewers. The telepresence equipment at Granada High School was funded by the California Career Pathways Trust grant, awarded to the Tri-Valley Educational Collaborative (TEC) in 2016. TEC includes LVJUSD, Dublin Unified School District, Pleasanton Unified School District, the Tri-Valley Regional Occupational Program (TVROP), and Las Positas College. The grant showcases the dynamic partnership within the Collaborative and showcases its commitment to expand K-14 pathways that support students and their access to college and careers. Director of Curriculum for LVJUSD, Amy Robbins, said “We are grateful for this funding, which will provide many cutting edge opportunities for STEM education for students in our district and throughout the Tri-Valley.”

Learning from NASA engineers extends education outside of the classroom. Mr. Baez said “this project has allowed us to reach audiences and mentors that were difficult to reach before. Telepresence starts to bridge those gaps and give the students a special skill to communicate through an interface that is different from modes of communication they usually interact with, such as social media, messaging, and even in-person communication.”

Granada students enjoyed the opportunity to expand their network. Director Robbins applauds the telepresence equipment and the day with NASA engineers as evidence of the District’s commitment to producing global citizens ready for the 21st century.

ABOUT LIVERMORE VALLEY JOINT UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
LVJUSD is an award-winning district that serves more than 13,300 students in transitional kindergarten through 12th grade at nine elementary campuses, two K-8 schools, three middle schools, two comprehensive high schools, and two alternative schools. The LVJUSD features International Baccalaureate Programmes and a STEM pathway, TK-12. The mission of the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District is to ensure each student will graduate with the skills needed to contribute and thrive in a changing world. For more information about the Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District please visit www.livermoreschools.com

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS:
School Board President Craig Bueno, [email protected], (925) 918-7345
Director of Community Engagement Philomena Rambo, [email protected] (925) 960-2917

Press Release contact: Kelly Bowers, Ed.D, [email protected]