El Monte High Students Visit Space Shuttle

By Anne Donofrio-Holter
May 23, 2013 • 1,751 views

El Monte

Thanks to a grant from Target, 52 El Monte High School engineering students had an opportunity to visit space shuttle Endeavor at the California Science Center.  Before retiring to Los Angeles, Endeavor completed 25 missions into space, including the first service mission to the Hubble space telescope and the first mission to add an American built component to the International Space Station.

“The students had a great time and seeing the space shuttle was a jaw dropping experience for them all,” said El Monte High School engineering teacher Steve Swanson  “I had to spend some time convincing them that it was a real space shuttle that had been to space and not a mockup.”

According to Swanson, the field trip benefitted the students in several ways.

“The students were inspired by the Endeavor’s example of the rigor of logic and the excitement of inventiveness, made them aware of jobs available in the aerospace industry and better understand how engineering is a way of solving problems,” said Swanson.

“It was the first time I saw a space shuttle this close and I was amazed,” said student Ruiqi Guo.  “I learned some fun and interesting facts.”

“Every part of the space shuttle was carefully put together and left people awestruck,” said student Gabby Nguyen.

“Minority and women students still continue to be underrepresented in engineering, so visiting this marvel of aerospace engineering will remind students that jobs at Raytheon and Boeing, just 33 miles away, need talented, young people,” said El Monte High School engineering teacher Daniel Oliver.  “This field trip challenges students to use their own curiosity to drive their own endeavors.”

According to Swanson, the trip also served to prepare students for an upcoming classroom project where students will use the idea of the space shuttle’s thermal protection system to develop their own renewable heat transfer material.

“Students will also be researching local colleges and universities that offer aerospace engineering career programs,” added Swanson.

“We are very grateful to Target for giving our students this wonderful opportunity to view this engineering marvel,” said El Monte High School principal Keith Richardson.

“It’s become increasingly difficult for schools to fund learning opportunities outside the classroom.  To help them out, we launched field trip grants in 2007,” said a Target spokesperson.  “Since then, we’ve made it possible for millions of students to go on a field trip.”

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