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DuPont Continues to Inspire Students to Pursue STEM
05.04.12
 
Kennedy Space Center Associate Director Kelvin Manning with the student winners of the 2012 DuPont Challenge science essay contest Image above: Kennedy Space Center's Associate Director Kelvin Manning (top row, right) was on hand to congratulate the winners of the 2012 DuPont Challenge science essay contest on April 27. Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller
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the student winners of the 2012 DuPont Challenge science essay contest Image above: The winners of the 2012 DuPont Challenge science essay contest celebrate in Kennedy Space Center's Educator Resource Center on April 27. Photo credit: NASA/Amanda Diller
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Sometimes it's difficult to relate science to real world experiences. It's a challenge that seven students met during the 2012 DuPont Challenge science essay competition.

They used personal experiences to write about topics such as asthma, heart problems and environmental issues, and were honored with an award at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex's Educator Resource Center on April 27 for their work. "It was a big step to even consider to apply," said Kelvin Manning, associate director of Business Operations at Kennedy. "You did it not only for the opportunity to learn something but to share that passion."

Roshni Sethi, a student from Plainview, N.Y., for example, wrote about her father having a heart attack the day before her mother was scheduled to give birth to her. In her essay, she talks about how doctors saved her father's life, which prompted her to focus her essay on a new science that may eradicate heart failure by using nanowires.

The challenge, now in its 26th year, reaches out to students from grades seven through 12 from all 50 states and Canada. It aims to inspire students to excel and achieve in scientific writing and pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The DuPont Challenge is sponsored by its namesake, the DuPont company in collaboration with NASA, NBC Learn, Britannica Digital Learning, the Walt Disney Resort, National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) and A+ Media. The winning students, parents and teachers were invited to tour Kennedy and attend the award ceremony.

After the students and teachers were presented the awards they each had a few moments to reflect on their experience during the competition.

"I've had a lot of time to reflect on my essay, but never had a chance to say thank you to anyone for their support during this time," said Sethi, who wants to become a neurologist in geriatrics.

"Each of the students here took personal experience and used that view to look at science in a different way," said Patricia Simmons, president of the National Science Teacher's Association.

"These essays were very well developed, it speaks to the kind of power you can tap into in science," Manning said. "We need all of you to keep this going, the teachers and most of all the students, to keep the STEM project focused."

 
 
Brittney Longley
NASA's John F. Kennedy Space Center