Local Solar System Ambassador expresses appreciation

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Guest Column by Pam Roller, Solar System Ambassador

Pam Roller

Getting to witness NASA, SpaceX, and everyone involved in the epic test flight of the SpaceX Crew Dragon Demo 2 to the International Space Station was awe inspiring and captivating! The spectacular ingenuity and vision were reminders of the endless possibilities of what can be achieved when there is incredible teamwork and awesome partnerships.

Special thanks goes to Michelle Dials for her amazing guidance, support, and assistance in providing a way for me to inform, encourage, and engage the community with the latest happenings in space exploration at NASA. Her enthusiasm rekindled my spirit and passion for space exploration. She allowed a window of opportunity!

Also, much gratitude goes to former student Zachary Funk, former Senator Thomas Weatherwax, Robert Barr, former Mayor Dave Kitchell, and Larina Shaffer for their willingness to be references needed for the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory application process. These fine folks have supported my space endeavors through the years. I am eternally grateful to them for believing that it would still be possible for NASA to select me as a Solar System Ambassador Volunteer.

My passion for space exploration skyrocketed after attending Space Camp for Professional Educators in Huntsville, Alabama in 1988. My enthusiasm was fueled by three decades of students wanting to participate in Young Astronauts, preparing students for missions at the Challenger Learning Center in Brownsburg, orchestrating trips to the Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, and Kennedy Space Center, as well as offering Mission Possible at Purdue University and at Indiana University in Kokomo which resulted in students simulating missions in my classroom inside a life size mock up of a space shuttle simulator. I treasure all of those precious memories!

I thank our Heavenly Father for the continued opportunities, inspiration, grace, favor, wisdom, guidance, and creativity to do His Will as He allows us to pursue endless possibilities no matter what age we are.

My goal is to keep the dream alive in space exploration, and hopefully inspire people to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). It is phenomenal to think that in the near future, we’re going to put a woman and a man on the moon and then eventually go to Mars. I am very appreciative of this experience. NASA has many exciting things on the horizon. My role is to keep you updated. I’ll do my best!