Day 24 — Higher Orbits
The Higher Orbits mission is to connect students with space leaders, astronauts and scientists through leadership and team-building programs
Last night I was honored to attend an awards event honoring some students here in Durham. They had participated in a program put together by an organization called Higher Orbits. The Higher Orbits mission is to connect students with space leaders, astronauts and scientists through leadership and team-building programs focused on science, technology, engineering and math. Here in Durham they have partnered with the Durham County Libraries and the Durham Library Foundation to provide a program called Go For Launch!
There have been six Go For Launch! Programs held in Durham. High school students participate in a free, week-long camp held at different library locations. Higher Orbits arranges for an astronaut to be at each camp to work with the kids and share with them their first-hand experiences of being in space. The students divide up into teams and create an experiment they would like to see conducted aboard to the International Space Station. The event last night announced which experiment had won and which experiment was headed into space. If that wasn’t enough, the winning team also receives a free trip, accompanied by a parent or guardian, to watch the launch.
The nervous energy in the room last night was palpable. The student teams each got up on stage and did a brief explanation of their experiment. I was blown away at the varied and complex ideas these students had come up with during their time at camp.
Finally, it was time to announce the winners. It was such a proud moment to watch the team that won celebrate their accomplishment and know that their experiment will soon be launched into space and conducted by actual astronauts aboard the International Space Station. What an amazing opportunity Higher Orbits has provided for the young people of Durham. They don’t just run this program in Durham. They partner with cities across the U.S., bringing astronauts into these camps and engaging these students in STEM activities.
Today, for my act of kindness, I am donating to Higher Orbits. I think the work they are doing is tremendously important. Giving these students this sort of unprecedented access is a gift that may ignite a STEM career. I thank them for choosing Durham and for allowing these high school students to have an experience they will never forget.
Learn more about the reason behind Maureen's 43 days of kindness blog idea here.