Space Shuttle astronauts touch down at UWE

Issue date: 28 June 2011

The crew who travelled on the very last mission of the Space Shuttle Discovery will make an inspirational presentation to hundreds of school pupils when they visit the University of the West of England on 1 July.

The six astronauts will talk about their experiences and the relevance that STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects have to their achievements. The aim of the event is to promote education, particularly STEM subjects, and to enthuse and inspire young people, to pursue their dreams and encourage a ‘you can do it' spirit amongst young people.

Around 180 young people from schools in Bristol and the region, (and 160 guests) have been invited to this once–in–a–lifetime opportunity to hear about the exciting and inspirational experiences of the astronauts.

The crew of Space Shuttle Mission STS-133, led by Astronaut Mission Commander Steve Lindsey, carried out the final mission of Discovery to the International Space Station in March 2011. The mission involved bringing an additional module to the Space Station, installing Robonaut 2, a human upper torso-like robot, and carrying out several space walks.

The visit is being organised by the International Space School Educational Trust (ISSET).

Chris Barber, Director of ISSET said, “I am delighted to help bring the crew of Space Shuttle Discovery's last mission to the University of West of England. The astronauts are role models of how determination and study, particularly in maths, sciences and technologies can enable young people to fulfil their dreams and ambitions and I am sure that the crew will help inculcate in our young people the NASA ‘you can do it' spirit.”

The event aims to inspire young people who may not previously have considered STEM subjects and particularly those from under-represented groups such as BME students.

Dr Marie-Annick Gournet, (Diversity, Disability and Widening Participation Leader at UWE), explains, “We are really excited that the Space Shuttle Crew members are visiting UWE – they will deliver an exciting presentation, and I believe their stories will inspire the young people. This visit is just one aspect of our widening participation agenda to raise aspirations amongst young people and to encourage under-represented groups to consider HE and studying STEM subjects in particular. This event will help young people to realise that there is no limit to what they can achieve – they can reach the stars – if that's what they want to do!”

In addition to this event, Dr Gournet is leading a project with Carnegie Mellon University, a leading US institution, to share best practice and encourage take up of STEM subjects in under-represented groups.

Full details of the crew can be found here:


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