Press Release

NASA Recruits Community Outreach Volunteers for 2005

By SpaceRef Editor
October 1, 2004
Filed under , ,

Calling all space buffs! NASA’s Solar System Ambassadors program
is recruiting more volunteers to spread the marvel of space science
and exploration across the nation.

Applications for Solar System Ambassador positions are being accepted
through NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., until Oct.
15. Those from underserved areas are especially encouraged to

“Ideal candidates are ambitious and able to actively personalize the
space program for their communities,” said Kay Ferrari, national
coordinator for the Solar System Ambassadors program, based at JPL.
“These volunteers are enthusiastic about space exploration and come
from all walks of life.”

“As a Solar System Ambassador in Rochester, N.Y., I have made a number
of presentations in the last few years to minority, inner-city,
underserved groups such as low-income rural schools, church
organizations and fraternity youth events,” said Earle Kyle, a
consultant and former engineer and physicist for military and
aerospace organizations. He has been a Solar System Ambassador for two

“I think the best answer to today’s challenge of getting kids
interested in pursuing engineering and science degrees is the cutting
edge technology of NASA and JPL,” Kyle said. “We need as many
bright brains as we can gather to keep us at the forefront of all the
relevant technologies. The Solar System Ambassadors program can play a
significant role.”

The program consists of more than 370 volunteer ambassadors who have
committed to organizing and carrying out at least four public outreach
activities a year. JPL provides them with educational materials and
training sessions, including videos, NASA mission updates and contacts
with mission scientists.

“Living in Corbin, a small town in rural southeastern Kentucky, space
exploration often seemed a distant dream that was seldom mentioned in
the local media,” said Solar System Ambassador Jenny Iley, a teacher
at West Knox Elementary School in Corbin. “Children in our area
rarely heard about discoveries and advances in our nation’s space
program. This has changed greatly as a result of the Solar
System Ambassadors program. The training has prepared me to
answer my students’ questions and bring the excitement of space
exploration to both them and their parents.”

“Because of this program, my outlook on space science and its benefits
has changed in size and scope,” said Miguel Rodriguez-Galbe from
Alpena, Mich., a Solar System Ambassador who holds daylong community
sessions at his local public library about NASA missions and
activities, astronomy and astrophysics. “I knew of many benefits
already, and studying space science was ‘right up my alley,’ yet I
found great insight into space technology, science, investigation and
the hard work of people behind the scenes who make those projects

JPL ambassadors are based throughout the United States and Puerto
Rico, serving widespread public interest about robotic missions
throughout the solar system. Each state has at least one ambassador.
New ambassadors will strengthen the program’s nationwide presence and
include more underserved regions.

More information about the Solar System Ambassadors program is
available at , or by contacting
Ferrari at or (818) 354-7581. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.

SpaceRef staff editor.