“I believe that space exploration is hugely inspirational to people
of all ages, but in particular to young people," Collins said.
"It is my hope that the excitement of space will inspire our
youngsters to study math, science, engineering, and technology. The
future of our country depends on the strong education of our diverse population.
"I wrote my book: 'Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars' to
inform and inspire young people to consider careers in the military
and in space. In addition, Roger Chaffee was one of my heroes and I
believe it is important for people to understand his life and his
motivation in the choices he made."
Deana Weibel, professor of anthropology and co-organizer of Roger
That!, said when organizers decided on a theme of women and space,
they knew Collins would be the perfect choice for a keynote speaker
given her pioneering work and extensive achievements.
"These accomplishments required skill, intelligence, bravery and
grit, illustrating beyond a doubt what women can achieve in
space," Weibel said. "Roger That! has a growing audience,
comprised of people around the world and of all ages. It’s important
to us that folks who attend Roger That!, both in Grand Rapids and
beyond, are able to see space explorers as they truly are, a
reflection of the diverse population of our planet."
There will be two opportunities to hear Collins present her speech,
titled “Through the Glass Ceiling to the Stars,” which will chronicle
her journey to becoming a NASA astronaut and earning her leadership positions.
She will speak at 6:30 p.m. February 18 at the Loosemore Auditorium
on GVSU’s Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The lecture is free through
registration at the Roger That! website. It will also be livestreamed.
Collins will also speak at 11 a.m. February 19 at the GRPM. Tickets
for this lecture are available for free at grpm.org.
Other highlights of the conference include:
- The free GVSU Academic Conference on February 18 is open to
educators and the general public. Speeches will be available in
person and virtually, over Zoom. Guests must
register. The speakers include experts in a wide range of
fields, from space history to computational chemistry.
- Roger That! STEM programming will be available for school groups
and the general public on February 18 at the GRPM.
- The Design That! Challenge, which allows students
to produce projects reflecting space-related topics, is open to
students in grades 4-8, with separate award categories for grades
4-6 and 7-8.