Press Release

NASA Team Encourages Teens to ‘Be Astronomical’ at TEDxYouth@NASA

By SpaceRef Editor
November 15, 2010
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HAMPTON, Va. – Hundreds of Hampton Roads teens will spend part of their Saturday night at the first ever TEDxYouth@NASA to be held locally Nov. 20, from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., at the Virginia Air & Space Center or VASC in downtown Hampton.

TEDxYouth@NASA, hosted by NASA’s Langley Research Center, the VASC and the National Institute of Aerospace, is one of more than 60 TEDx programs scheduled around the globe on the United Nations-designated Universal Children’s Day. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that allow people to share a TED-like experience, where presenters offer “ideas worth spreading” in Technology, Entertainment and Design or TED.

“Be Astronomical,” the theme of TEDxYouth@NASA, is meant to inspire teens to explore and push their own boundaries to study science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and perhaps make a career out of their studies. Area school districts nominated about 300 students to participate in the invitation-only TEDxYouth @NASA, which will feature speakers, demonstrations, exhibits, career conversations with professionals, a DJ, games and prizes.

“The vision for our event is to support the President’s initiative for STEM education,” said event organizer Hayley Foster. “Working through area school districts we cast a wide net to try to reach students in grades 8-12 who have been identified as curious and possessing potential, but who are not intensely interested in STEM-related study. If we don’t capture their interest we will have a serious shortage of Americans in these occupations 10 years from now.”

Teens will hear from an array of speakers including Jim Adams, deputy director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division; Cara Filler, a motivational speaker with a personal story about the impact of peer pressure and traffic safety; Andrew Horn, the head of a volunteer organization that works with at-risk children; poet and musician Omekongo Dibinga; NASA “Eyes on the Solar System” engineer Jon Viet Nguyen; communications professional Andrea Goulet; Richard Byles, VASC education director; and Karen Freidt, artist and head of NASA Langley’s Navigation Center for Creativity, Collaboration and Innovation.

There are no more tickets available for TEDxYouth@NASA, but interested viewers can watch on the Internet. The event will be streamed live from a link at:

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to “ideas worth spreading.” Started as a four-day conference in California 25 years ago, TED has grown to support those world-changing ideas with multiple initiatives. Conference presentations are made available for free at TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Al Gore, Jane Goodall, Sir Richard Branson, and many others. The “x” in TEDxNASA indicates it is an independently organized TED event.

For more information about NASA’s Langley Research Center, please go to:

To learn more about the Virginia Air & Space Center, please go to:

For more information about the National Institute of Aerospace, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.