UWG Hosts Live Chat between NASA Experts and Local Students

Monday, February 17, 2014

Former astronaut Col. Gregory H. JohnsonOn Thursday, February 20, 2014, the University of West Georgia will host local high school and middle school students for a live video chat with NASA experts. NASA Kennedy Space Center Education Professional Development, in conjunction with the former program NASA Explorer Schools, will introduce former astronaut, Col. Gregory H. Johnson, and science researcher, Dr. Michael Roberts. At 1:00 p.m., students will gather at UWG and have the opportunity to ask questions directly to Johnson and Roberts through a live web chat and Twitter feed.

"This is a very exciting opportunity for our area schools and for UWG as well,” said Dr. Dianne Hoff, dean of UWG’s College of Education. “The College of Education strives to encourage students to pursue careers in the STEM disciplines and this is a real-life connection that, I hope, will influence these students for life."

The live video chat will focus on the International Space Station’s current and future experiments and the training required for the astronauts who will activate, follow and report data from the experiments. Students will be able to ask questions in real-time and hear directly from the NASA experts. In addition to UWG, EPD alliance members and the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez campus will also host local students for the live connection.

Johnson was selected as a NASA astronaut in 1998 and piloted two space shuttle missions, STS-123 and STS-134, both aboard Space Shuttle Endeavor. Before joining NASA, he spent 25 years in the U.S. Air Force, logging 5,000 flight hours in more than 50 different aircraft. In 2011, Johnson began a rotational assignment as the associate director of external programs at NASA Glenn Research Center.

Former astronaut Col. Gregory H. Johnson

Currently, Johnson is the president and executive director for the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, or CASIS, which is tasked by NASA to manage, promote and broker research onboard the International Space Station U.S. National Laboratory. This enables a new era for space investigations capable of improving life on Earth. Roberts is the senior research pathway manager for CASIS.

UWG has invited students from Carrollton Junior High School, Carrollton High School, Central Middle School and Central High School. These students may interact with Johnson and Roberts by submitting questions through email, a chat window or on Twitter by including #NESChat. The live chat will take place in the College of Education building, room 201.