Providing unique and educational experiences to youth is a priority for all Native Boys & Girls Clubs. These experiences allow young people to explore new hobbies and interests that they otherwise may not have been exposed to. In addition, these diverse activities help students connect with their studies on a deeper level by grasping their interest and connecting information that they are learning in the classroom to the world beyond school.
Recently, the Metlakatla Unit of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southcentral Alaska offered their youth the opportunity to explore the depths of space during a ‘Meet the Scientist Session.’ Guided by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center scientist, Brian Campbell, Club youth were immersed in an informative presentation about the Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite – 2 (ICE SAT 2). Campbell detailed how ICE SAT 2 uses laser technology to measure elevation and the shape of land and explained how we use this information to investigate why and how fast ice is melting in response to a warming climate.
Campbell went on to explain that scientists at NASA are soliciting the help of students all over the world through the Trees Around the GLOBE Campaign, and invited the youth from the Club to join the movement. The program presented Club youth with an opportunity to assist scientists by measuring the heights of trees with handheld instruments to collect information that will be compared to the data ICE SAT 2 has collected to ensure the satellite’s accuracy.
Sesilynn Schleusner, program manager of the Metlakatla Unit, believed the experience was important for all of the youth who participated. “Our kids were thrilled to be able to speak with a NASA scientist,” she explained. “I think it was an eye-opener as far as kids realizing that science in general could be a viable career choice for them in the future.” Thanks to this opportunity, Club youth who participated in the GLOBE Science Program can now impressively say that they have made a valuable scientific contribution to NASA.