North Olmsted students discuss space and astronauts with a district graduate and the director of operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

NORTH OLMSTED, Ohio – What started as the seventh grade class of North Olmsted Middle School science teacher Shari Insley studying the recent lunar eclipse ended up providing students with a lifelong memory.

“One of the assistants who works in my room said she had a really good friend who not only went to North Olmsted High School, but worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center before moving to the Johnson Space Center in Houston. Insley said. “He’s involved in training astronauts and things like that.

“It was literally 48 hours later, we spent a full 80 minutes chatting with Dave Foltz, a 1974 North Olmsted High School graduate. After this virtual conversation, the students’ eyes were as large as saucers. They were just excited. Their curiosity was piqued and they wanted to know more. It was amazing. “

Over the decades, the operations and increments manager at NASA’s Johnson Space Center EVA office has worked on everything from Space Shuttle flights to the International Space Station.

Today, Foltz not only trains astronauts for spacewalks and satellite repairs, but he is also involved in the current mission to Mars.

“Being a graduate of North Olmsted, I felt honored that my alma mater asked me to answer students’ questions,” said Foltz, who recalled that when he was in seventh grade, NASA was about to land on the moon.

Growing up in the backyard of NASA’s Glenn Research Center inspired him to dream of the stars. Now he sees that same passion in the next generation.

“The technical questions from the students were exceptional,” said Foltz. “The one question that gave me the biggest smile was, ‘How do I get a job at NASA? I told them to study as much math and science as they could, do a high school internship at NASA’s Glenn Research Center, go to college, and get a math, science, or degree. in engineering.

“NASA is in good hands with the next generation of engineers and scientists arriving as students in Ms. Insley’s class.”

Among those wide-eyed students was seventh-grade Madison Mago, who said talking with Foltz was amazing. She was taken aback by some of the facts discussed.

“I learned that there is an underwater simulator and the spacesuits have 14 layers,” said seventh grader Laila Galvin. “I felt special that someone with so much expertise was talking to our class.”

Offering more than one commentary on the state of information in 2021, seventh grader Alyssa Jessop said, “Honestly, that was weird. I kind of convinced myself at first that we weren’t really talking to a NASA engineer.

“I just thought we were talking to a normal person who knew a lot about NASA, but after a while I was struck by the fact that we were talking to him.

Not only has Foltz expressed interest in making a virtual classroom tour an annual affair, Insley said the recent recording will inspire his future classes, as well as other students in the district.

“After recording the meeting, I’m working on uploading it to the school’s Google accounts so that I can share it with other students and classes in the years to come,” Insley said.

Find out more about the news of the Sun Post Herald here.


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