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Inspiring Education & Public Outreach Coordinator—Aimee Meyer

    Aimee Meyer
 

 

Aimee (Whalen) Meyer, Education and Public Outreach Coordinator, JPL

Growing up, I always found that math and science were very difficult for me to learn. The thought of one day working at the worlds leading organization for robotic and unmanned space exploration often blows my mind! It was later in life that I learned that I was dyslexic and was also a very visual hands-on learner—which was not the teaching style used by the schools that I attended.

After I graduated high school, I was at a loss as to what career path I wanted to take and began studying political science in college while working at JPL. My first year at JPL, I worked for the Magellan mission and had a less than glamorous job (I thought) as the science “librarian” of sorts. It was my job to file large 24” x 24” images of the surface of Venus. Little did I know that those images were only being seen by a small number of people—I, unknowingly, was one of the very select few looking at the surface of Venus! I think that was the turning point for me and I began focusing on learning about what had forever intimidated me—math and science! I now began to see these subjects in an entirely different light.

From Magellan, I moved onto the Mars Pathfinder mission and then to NASA’s comet sample return mission, Stardust. Working with NASA and JPL has provided me with more one-of-a-kind experiences than I could have ever imagined. I’ve stood feet away from a spacecraft that launched two days later to encounter a comet; watched the Mars Pathfinder rover being built and then land on the surface of Mars; and joined the team exploring the sun's solar wind on the Genesis mission. For the past 14 of my 20-year career at JPL, I’ve worked for the Stardust mission as the Education and Outreach Lead. This position has given me the opportunity not only to explore very exciting science and engineering first hand, but also to design education and public outreach materials to teach others on how they too can apply these disciplines first hand. It is my hope that I can make math and science less intimidating for students who are right now in the same predicament that I was in 20+ years ago.

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