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‘NASA STEM Stars’: Science Communications

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Dana Bolles has had many jobs around NASA and is passionate about inspiring young people to go into STEM fields.


Educators, Students

Grade Levels

Grades 5-8, Grades 9-12, Informal Education




Lesson Plans / Activities, Videos

NASA Role Model: Dana Bolles
NASA Center: Headquarters, Ames
Topic: Science Communications
Original Air Date: July 21, 2021

Dana Bolles works for the science engagement and partnership division at NASA Headquarters. Dana was first hired as a payload safety engineer at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in 1995. Since then, she has worked at four NASA centers and mission support roles, and at least 10 more years in the human exploration and science divisions. Having been born with no legs, Dana rides an electric wheelchair to be independent. During her education, Dana studied engineering. She thought, “If I can’t find useful equipment to help me with activities, I can design it as an engineer.” Dana went on to get a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering.

STEM Activity: Mars Perseverance Parachute Coding Activity
Objective: In this activity, you are going to create your own message on a parachute using the same code designers used for the parachute that helped Perseverance land safely.
Duration: 30-45 minutes
Materials Needed: STEM Learning Student Handout, Pencil, Colored Pencils
Difficulty: Moderate

Next Generation Science Standards:  MS-ESS1-3
Common Core State Standards — Math: 7.EE.B, 6.NS.C.6.C


“NASA STEM Stars” is a webchat series. Each chat introduces a science, technology, engineering or math career, addresses a STEM topic and highlights a NASA mission. The chat includes a STEM activity that students can do at home. After the interviews, experts answer students’ questions.