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AAUW Tech Trek tour students and their teachers got up-close-and-personal with the stripped-out interior of one of NASA's two modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft.
› View Larger Photo About 32 middle school girls and their teachers or parents recently went on a Tech Trek tour of NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center to spark their interest in aerospace engineering. The tour for seventh-grade girls who have shown proficiency in science and math classes is part of a program conducted annually by the Antelope Valley branch of the American Association of University Women.
The AAUW program, which sends about 15 girls to a one-week summer science camp at several university campuses, is designed to encourage middle-school girls to consider careers in scientific, technical or engineering fields. It focuses on the so-called STEM disciplines – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – that they need to master to enter those careers.
This year's tour of Dryden included briefings on women in engineering from Jennifer Cole, supervising aerospace engineer in the aerodynamics branch of Dryden's Research an Engineering Directorate, and on NASA's INSPIRE on-line educational program for high school students from aerospace education specialist Beth White.
NASA Dryden meteorologist Franzeska Houtas demonstrated some of the equipment used for aviation weather monitoring and forecasting.
› View Larger Photo Following the briefings, the students and their chaperones toured several of NASA Dryden's aircraft hangars, the model shop, one of the modified Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft, and then rotated through a series of specialized tours and briefings on Dryden's Research Aircraft Integration Facility, its Ikhana/Predator B unmanned aircraft, fixed-position flight simulators and aviation weather forecasting.