BALTIMORE (WJZ)—It was the ultimate career day for students at one city school in South Baltimore. They got a chance to meet a former NASA astronaut.

As Gigi Barnett explains, it’s all part of a program designed to launch careers in science and technology.

It took astronaut Don Thomas 8.5 minutes to blast into space and 33 years to prepare for the trek.

“If we were in space, I could take this cup of water and I could tip it upside down like this and nothing would happen,” Thomas explained to the students.

Thomas shared his story Thursday with students at Bay Brook Elementary/Middle School in South Baltimore.

“I think he’s amazing for not giving up because if that was me and I would have kept getting rejected by the NASA program, I would have given up,” said Sharnae Adams, Bay Brook student.

His visit is part of the Nifty Fifty (times 2) program created by the USA Science and Engineering Festival, the nation’s only science celebration of its kind and size.

“Many students say, ‘Ah, math and science, it’s too hard,’ but it’s so much fun and then come down there and talk with engineers and scientists working in a wide range of fields,” Thomas said.

The Nifty Fifty are considered science rock stars in every area of math, engineering and technology. And, by visiting students, scientists like Thomas can fire them up about his career and the upcoming festival in April.

After four missions to space, Thomas now works at Towson University. He says launching any career in science and technology takes perseverance.

“It took me four times applying to get into the program,” he said. “And I never gave up. I knew what I wanted to do, I encourage them to do the same.”

The USA Science and Engineering Festival is the weekend of April 28 in Washington, D.C.


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