During this past Fall semester, Cool Girls Science and Art Club explored the Dream Chaser at the Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC). The remotely operated, reusable space shuttle has been commissioned by NASA to service the International Space Station as a cargo ship and is now being considered for possibly carrying astronauts.

SNC encourages the next generation to pursue STEM careers, especially women and minorities. The trip was made possible with the help of funding from The Quarter Fund, a donor-advised fund of the Longmont Community Foundation.

The girls received an exclusive tour! It began with an overview of the Dream Chaser program. Our hosts, John Turner and Angie Wise, leaders in the Safety and Mission Assurance department, displayed models and computer animations of the Dream Chaser. The girls were fascinated by the models’ intricacies and their curiosity was quickly sparked.

John and Angie introduced the girls to just some of the engineering teams required for the large project.  The best part about that? Cool Girls heard from women engineers. The engineers gave insights about their jobs and the varying disciplines within the engineering field. The doors of opportunity began to open and become a reality for the aspiring girls. The final guest speaker was Lee “Bru” Archambault, a retired Air Force Colonel, who flew on two Space Shuttle missions. Meeting a real astronaut was a highlight for many of the girls!

This field trip made a tremendous impact on both the girls and their families. When the day started and the group was asked about who wants to be an astronaut, not too many girls raised their hands. It seemed like an impossible dream that only a few people ever achieve. By the end of the day when the same question was asked, all the girls raised their hands! Cool Girls Science and Art Club is incredibly grateful for the Sierra Nevada Corp and the Longmont Quarter Fund for making this all possible.

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