Students Explore Their Passions at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory


When Green Dot summer intern and Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy  junior Ja’Juan Barr expressed a strong interest in space and the solar system to Graphic Designer Ariya Dickinson and Community Engagement Coordinator Breanna Jordan during his summer internship, they wanted to help him and his peers further explore their passions.

More than Rocketships and Scientists

Dickinson and Jordan worked together to secure a private tour of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California for Barr and his peers. The Locke students were blown away by JPL’s sprawling campus, and the almost 15,000 employees that work there. They explored wonders few ever get to see: they sat in the control room responsible for the launch of the Mars Exploration Rover, and even got a glimpse at the spacecraft for the Mars 2020 rover mission. (19 of 25)

The students quickly learned that NASA was not only home to astronauts and scientists, but also to creative minds, writers, animators, and artists, each using their skills to further NASA and JPL by sharing their discoveries in compelling and creative ways.

“I remember being in school– I knew what subjects I liked but I didn’t know what that meant in terms of joining the workforce,” recalled Dickinson. “So any opportunity to visit an actual workplace, see what they do, and experience the culture can really open students’ minds.”

Jordan felt the trip was a great opportunity for students like Barr to get real world exposure to subjects of interest. “When I would ask Ja’Juan about specific career paths or what he wanted to study in college, he really didn’t know,” recalled Jordan. “So I saw going somewhere like NASA and exposing him and students with similar interests to all the different jobs and projects as a way to make their interests more tangible.”

Unlocking Student Potential

By connecting students with professionals in areas of their interest and encouraging their intellectual curiosity, we hope to offer students access to experiences that broaden their idea of what’s possible for the future.

Green Dot is committed to nurturing the interests and passions of all students. Our schools provide educational spaces where students, teachers, and professionals can meet and collaborate to develop real world skills that can turn those passions into careers.

At Alain LeRoy Locke College Preparatory Academy, students work in the JetSpace to discover 21st century innovation and engage with mentors from a wide variety of professional backgrounds, exercise creativity, and build self-directed learning skills with the aid of cutting edge technology. Through these kinds of spaces and experiences, we strive to set up student experiences that propel them toward the futures they dream of, and those they have yet to visualize.

Learn More Students Exploring Space

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