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UNLV professor wows STEM students

Garrett Junior High School’s Flight and Space teacher, Ryan Pusko, invited his brother, Dr. Matthew Pusko, to speak with our sixth-grade students on Friday, Sept. 29. Dr. Pusko teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Engineering and came to inspire and educate our STEM students. Dr. Pusko’s visit was part of an effort from UNLV to expose students to the careers of the future and to ignite their passion for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Dr. Pusko is a distinguished member of the UNLV School of Engineering, and presented a project that he and his team have been working on with their partnership with NASA’s Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project. The goal of this collaboration is to engage young minds in the world of space exploration and scientific discovery.

During his visit, Dr. Pusko introduced the students to different STEM fields such as aerospace engineering and astronomy, and emphasized the importance of STEM education so that our students might consider careers in these fields.

He discussed the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project that UNLV and NASA are working on together with other universities around the country, which involves the design and launch of a 12-pound payload equipped with live-streaming cameras. The cameras will be sent 100,000 feet into the Earth’s atmosphere to detect atmospheric gravity waves, and the data will be sent to NASA to study.

All sixth-grade students at Garrett JHS are learning about flight and space, and the students loved learning about UNLV’s Rocketry and Aviation Club, and were excited about doing more projects with UNLV and Dr. Pusko where they will be designing a payload to send on one of the balloons in the future.

The UNLV team will embark on a journey to Northern Nevada this weekend to launch their high-altitude balloon during the solar eclipse on Saturday, Oct. 14. Garrett students were all given a pair of solar eclipse glasses to wear so that they can observe the event this weekend. The data collected during this mission will be shared with NASA, contributing valuable insights to scientific research.

Our partnership with UNLV will provide Boulder City students valuable exposure to STEM education and the possibilities of future careers. Dr. Pusko’s visit was an exceptional opportunity for our students to engage with cutting-edge science and technology and continue to develop our programs as we build a relationship with different organizations.

It was an exciting day to have Dr. Pusko at Garrett and have our sixth-grade students learn about how UNLV is collaborating with NASA. The future of space exploration and STEM education has become one of the focuses of Garrett Junior High School as we shift into a full STEM program and continue our journey to become a Governor’s Designated STEM Academy.

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