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Project Manager of Space Frontier Foundation Stops By

Guest Speaker: Teachers in Space
by Jonathan Pederson ‘15

After speaking at Linden Rotary on Wednesday, April 16, 2014, Elizabeth Kennick, Project Manager of Space Frontier Foundation, took a side trip to Randolph-Macon Academy to speak with aerospace and physics classes.  In Mr. Dave Gillis’s physics class, she engaged her audience by answering any questions they had.  Themed “Life is a constantly changing winding road, so be prepared for any detours,” Kennick discussed both her current employment and the road which led her there.  Despite any “detours” on the road toward her dreams, Kennick’s success proves that hard work, determination, and flexibility contribute to succeeding in one’s goal.

Beginning her exciting life, Kennick entered Goucher College majoring in elementary education and minoring in English; she eventually gained a master’s degree in information systems/operations analysis from the University of Maryland.  Kennick’s resume shows a diverse career, filled with experiences including working as Vice President of Client Technology at Morgan Stanley, engineering at Hughes Aircraft, managing Internal Communications for the European Monetary Union during the transition to the Euro, and managing a bed and breakfast–and she did all this before beginning work for the Space Frontier Foundation! 

Beginning employment in Space Frontier Foundation as Project Manager for their “Teachers in Space” Program, Kennick soon discovered that competing for the attention of companies like Boeing, Space-X, and Bigelow would be difficult in and of itself.  Furthermore, Teachers in Space presented a goal: send a high school experiment into space.  Most space corporations cooperate amongst themselves, which makes space travel easier.  However, there are constant requests to do this, and at the time, Teachers in Space seemed as if it were just another one of these requests.  Thankfully, Teachers in Space successfully organized the “ALS to ISS” experiment.  Teachers in Space successfully sent a student’s experiment on Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) to the International Space Station (ISS), via the private corporation Orbital Science.  In the ISS, a variety of variables, such as gravity, can be removed from the experiment.  This expanded the knowledge of such a disease in hopes of finding a cure.  Afterwards, Teachers in Space gained much attention and applied for status as a non-profit organization.

Kennick’s story presents us with several life lessons.  Firstly, prepare a goal and believe in achieving your goal.  Secondly, prepare yourself for adjustments in the path toward your goal.  Finally, trust that you will achieve the goal and enjoy life as it presents itself.  Kennick’s presence privileged Mr. Gillis’s physics class by entertaining them with her exciting life story and inspiring students, especially seniors, as they prepare themselves for adulthood.