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Veteran Astronaut Urges Kids to Shoot for the Moon

Kids at Lansing’s Sylvan Learning Center recently learned about the importance of STEM – science, technology, engineering, math – compliments of a visitor from outer space.

Dr. Bernard Harris Jr. is a two-time space shuttle crew member and the first African American to spacewalk. He paid a visit to the learning center after a student, fifth-grader George Rollins, won a national competition sponsored by the National Math and Science Initiative, of which Harris is CEO.

While in Lansing he spoke to the small group of students and parents at Sylvan and later appeared with Rollins for a fifth-grade assembly at Herbison Woods Elementary School.

His message, while often couched in tales about his experiences on the shuttles Columbia and Discovery, was clear: STEM education is vital if the elementary students of today are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.

“In this day and age everything is involved in technology, everything we do no matter what profession you’re in,” Harris said. “You must have some proficiency in STEM. That’s how important it is.”