NASA 'Ambassadors' Spread the Scientific Word
Space enthusiasts have joined together for an eighth year as
part of NASA's Solar System Ambassadors Program, a volunteer-
based group whose mission is to educate the public about the
wonders of space exploration.
Ambassadors are everyday citizens with an interest in space
science and the solar system. With 459 ambassadors coming
from all 50 states and Puerto Rico, the program has a wide
Image right: Visitors look at an exhibit during Astronomy and Space Day at the Georgia Southern University Planetarium, April 2000. Image credit: NASA/JPL.
"The diversity in this year's applicants is particularly
striking," said Kay Ferrari, coordinator of the program at
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.
"While the Solar System Ambassador program has long been the
haven for space enthusiasts from all walks of life, it is
particularly inspiring to see the range of fields
represented: firefighter, high school senior, retired Wall
Street analyst, Navy medic and attorney."
The Solar System Ambassador program was created in 1997.
The ambassadors' main objective is to spread knowledge of
the solar system by organizing community events and visiting
To prepare, ambassadors participate in a series of online
training courses provided by JPL. Educational materials are
supplied by the space missions.
Ambassador Susan Cabello of Laredo Texas, a mother of two
boys, has a special interest in educating the young and a
passion for space.
"I want to reach all children," said Cabello, who has an
associate's degree in criminology and plans to hold her next
event for Earth-Sun Day at Laredo Community College. "Middle
school is a place to attempt to reach children first. I
believe that if you can give kids at that age a dream to
work for, they can achieve it. I also want to visit high
schools and tell kids to study the tough classes for their
career and personal satisfaction."
Navy medic Oteasha Leonard, who is stationed in San Diego,
has similar aspirations. Her first event is the Military
Kids Space Day in San Diego.
"No child should be left out when it comes to education,"
said Leonard, who once attended a school for Aerospace
Medicine Technology. "Maybe one of the children I reach out
to will become an astronaut, astronomer or scientist. I want
to give them a head start at the opportunity."
Lisa Olsen, a developmental training supervisor from Amboy,
Ill., says space captured her attention at a young age, and
she now has the ability to put that interest to good use.
"I would like to reach the people who have always had an
interest in astronomy and space exploration, but have been
too busy, insecure, or just have not had the opportunity to
explore the amazing events. I would also hope to get more
people, women in particular, excited about the field of
science and technology."
For more information on JPL's Solar System Ambassador
program, visit http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador/front.html
, or contact Kay Ferrari at firstname.lastname@example.org
(818) 354-7581. A calendar of events hosted by ambassadors
is available at
JPL is managed for NASA by the California Institute of
Technology in Pasadena, Calif.
Annie Carone (818) 393-5464
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory