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Thursday, January 21, 2010

My Day Job




I have the coolest day job ever. I work at the Christa McAuliffe Space Education Center in Pleasant Grove Utah. (The blog title should link to their website, if I figured it out right.) We're talking high tech starship simulators and an inflatable planetarium.

I have many titles, 'cause they're free. My boss even gave me the official title "Ultimate Queen of the Universe". I'm debating how to center that on a business card.

It's hard to quantify what we do at the center. The best description I ever heard was "Star Trek Larping" but we can't use that because A) Star Trek is copyrighted, and B) we work for a school district and can't possibly be teaching children science fiction. That would not be acceptable to the powers-that-be. Not in conservative Utah.

Truth is, we are teaching them leadership skills, teamwork, decision making under pressure, moral values, and a host of other psychological lessons, all in a short two-hour mission simulation. What we do captures their imaginations to the point that we have had crews in tears over fictional situations and characters. Simulations are powerful tools.

We also have a classroom and planetarium where we tackle the real science of physics, stars, black holes, gravity, and space flight. Well, sort of. We have only forty-five minutes to impress as many 5th and 6th grade students as we can. We do our best to boggle their minds and imaginations with reality.

If the pictures post correctly, here's a brief glimpse into my working environment. Notice the lack of cubicles.

I'll have to post pictures of some of my costumes, except that would spoil a bit of the magic we strive to build. If you're ever in Utah Valley, stop by Central Elementary for a glimpse into futuristic education.