Friday, July 18, 2008

The NASA Explorer School (NES) Workshop

If you’ve been so luck in the past to talk to me either the week before, week of, or week after either our annual week-long NES orientation workshop or content workshop, you know how I feel about workshops and how worked up I get. If you haven’t, consider yourself lucky! We do workshops every summer on various topics, and every summer I dread workshop week.

This week my team hosted a 4-day content workshop on NASA Mathematics. This has been my 3rd summer of workshops and I think it was our best. I have figured out that I like preparing for the workshop, I just don’t like the week of the workshop. I like ordering the supplies, reserving meeting rooms, requesting the photographer and buses, making the many corrections to the agenda, putting together the binder, etc.

We had 21 participants from NES schools all over the US. All of them were teachers that teach math in 7-12 grades. I discovered a new feature in Google Maps that allows you to mark points of interest on a map; so I decided to create a
map with the location of our participant’s schools. There are so many fun things you can do with Google Maps, I’m sure I haven’t found all of them yet. If their stock wasn’t in the $200 range, I would buy a lot of it.

All I can say about today is….. Thank God it’s Friday and the workshop is OVER!


On the subject of work; some of you might be thinking “what does Katie do all day at NASA?” I really work for Penn State University for the Aerospace Education Services Project. There are 3 of us in my office of 46 that work for Penn State. Here is the quick and dirty description of what I do.

1) Manager the 2 Aerospace Education Specialists’ calendar. This really means I am the person that reviews requests and recommends we accept or reject the request.

2) I enter Aerospace Education Specialists’ travel reimbursements into the system for my 2 Specialists and all the Specialists at Kennedy Space Center, Goddard Space Flight Center and Stennis Space Center.

3) I enter calendar information into our NASA wide reporting system.

4) I am the backup for the main phone in our office.

5) I am one of two people that have training on how to deal with the very temperamental multi-function copy machine.

6) I order supplies

This sounds like a lot for one day’s worth of work, but most of this is sporadic and depends on calendar requests and travel forms. I have a lot of down time right now, which gives me plenty of time to write entries for my blog.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Six Flags Over Georgia

At work last Wednesday, I was given the opportunity to go to Six Flags Over Georgia, in Atlanta, GA, and be a second chaperone for a group of 23 NASA high school interns. I had about 15 minutes to decide whether or not I wanted to go because the chaperone needed to purchase my ticket or find someone else to go with her. I thought about it and decided that since I have never been to a Six Flags before it would be a good opportunity to experience one. Since Six Flags is in Atlanta, it is about a 3.5 hours drive from Huntsville. We left Huntsville around 5:30 am and, with the time change and gas station stop, got to Six Flags at about 10:15am. I was happy to hear that the other chaperone didn’t want to go on any of the big roller coasters, so I walked around with her all day.

Here are my comparisons:

  • Valley Fair has better roller coasters, but Six Flags has well know ones such as Superman & Batman
  • They both have a train that gives a nice tour of the park
  • They both have the same water rides
  • Water park is not part of the ticket at Six Flags
  • Six Flags has a ride called “Monster Plantation” that is a water ride (very fun ride when your feet are tired). Technically it is a kids ride (animated monsters in a haunted plantation), it was relaxing.
  • Some of the rides have air conditioning while you wait in line at Six Flags
  • Food was ok at Six Flags, but I think you are paying for the name brands – Papa John’s, Cold Stone Creamery, Starburst, etc.
  • Valley Fair is definitely bigger than Six Flags!

We ended up leaving at around 9:00 pm. We got back to Huntsville around 12:30 pm.

Six Flags Over Georgia, not as good as Valley Fair!