Crystal SawyerThe NASA/NSF/TSU Research Symposium in Nashville, Tennessee was an outstanding event. The overall atmosphere was relaxing and user friendly. There were ample opportunities to develop relationships with the researchers, students, presenters, and professors.
The conference was a very motivational and inspirational experience to continue to pursue my goals and my future endeavors. The conference broadened my horizon by making me aware of the opportunities that are in the biology field and how to relate biology to NAS, along with other majors. It also exposed a sense of diversity between the people, the school locations, and the different areas of study beyond a BS degree. With the opportunity to meet academically excelled students and professors from other colleges and areas it allowed a mentoring session to arise, which helped to determine the future path I wanted to explore.
On Thursday, the speaker for the luncheon was Mr. James Harrington, from Goddard Space Flight Center and MU-SPIN, who also was funding administrator for NASA’s future projects. Mr. Harrington elaborated on the need of the student to not only do the research, but to know why he or she may be doing it and how it relates to NASA and the world. He explained how a majority of the research students do has some kind of effect on the world, as we know it. In addition, Mr. Harrington showed the significance of the research at NASA. In a few years the world’s atmosphere is eventually going to be deteriorated, therefore we need to know if there is another planet capable for living. If so, are we going to be the only species living there and if we aren’t then will it actually be safe environment or where else could we live. Mr. Harrington made the students ask themselves questions like this to let us see how the research that we do today will have some effect on us tomorrow. Another speaker, on Friday, was Ms. Montanez Wade from Tennessee State University who spoke on the Diversity of the Technical Landscape through Student Development. Ms. Wade encouraged the students to pursue furthering their education and to explore all that you want to know whether it is in your field or not. She explained how everybody should want to learn and know why things happen and how. When you want to learn all that you can, eventually you will be a diverse, well-rounded individual. To learn all that life has to offer is what we all should aim for. Also, a research student from Tennessee State, La Tasha Taylor, happened to leave some personal inspiration. Latasha is a double major in Aeronautical Sciences and Engineering with a minor in Biology. She helped Dinnerdevelop the C++, Java, and other computer programming in digital cameras. As well as created a computer program designed to help people from second grade level to professor or doctorial level and higher, with the understanding of carbohydrates. Also due to having a successful research with Tennessee State University’s Isolated Gravity Experimental Reduction System: Vibration Isolation for Low Gravity Science, she along with three other student researchers will have the upcoming experience of flying on the test shuttle at the NASA Space Flight Center. This allows the actual anti-gravity sensations as if they were on a real trip to space. Latasha’s accomplishments as a senior undergraduate weren’t the most inspirational, but to know that she is a young female African American that gave me the most satisfaction.
Lastly, the NASA conference was used as a learning tool. Traveling there has given insight to other fields to pursue, such as Astrobiology. It has given an intuition of what to expect to encounter in further study and most of all to see the world outside of ECSU and myself, which has expanded my mind to shoot for the stars and try to literally touch the moon.

Crystal Sawyer, ECSU Research Student