inspiring the next generation of science, technology, engineering, arts, & mathematics (steam) leaders

Key Notes from NASA Speakers

NASA MUST Orientation and Leadership Symposium
By Aida Yoguely Cortés-Peña
Baltimore Maryland, Summer 2011


I went to the NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Symposium to get oriented about the program and to gain some leadership skills. Little did I know that I would get mind blown by these impacting speakers, sharing their life long lessons and providing key points to improve in our lives. The following are some of my notes taken as my jaw dropped in excitement and awe.

Dr. Bertice Berry:

Sociologist, and award winning lecturer Dr. Bertice Berry made us think and laugh at the same time.

  • Clean your filter and free your mind.
  • You cannot drive forward in life without looking back. Take the example a car. The rear windows exist, but they are smaller than the one to look forward. 
  • When you walk with Purpose you collide with Destiny.  
  • Ingenuity doesn't come from a vacuum.
  • Ask yourself "Why me here now?"
  • As great as we all are, as long as we are still breathing, we got to get better.
  • Diversity helps in critical thinking, on how you process information. For example the dinosaurs were really strong but they died because they did not collaborate like humans did.   
  • Don't ever think you are better than the people who got you there.    
  • Gratitude: No one owns you something you haven't earned.
  • Why are we wrapped up in other peoples' lives? Because you do not want to take care of your own life.   
  • Before it was "I" , now its "we", lets make it  "all".
  • Before taking a decision, take a deep breath to remove the arousing factors. Example: *deep breath* I love you!
  • What we give positive energy to, grows exponentially.
  • Visualize what it looks like.
  • Laugh more, life is a gift for those who get the joke.
  • Make sure my encounter with you is the best encounter because you never know what will happen between space and time.
  • What do you do with the fact that your still here?

Dr. Joaquim de Posada

One uniquely engaging motivational speaker and author of Don't Eat the Marshmallow Yet, teaches us the most important principle for success.

  • Deferred gratification and self discipline: The ability to put off what you want to later get what you need.
  • Applied knowledge is power. Now a days everyone has the power to rapidly look up information, so it doesn't matter whether you know facts or numbers, what matters is what you do/build/invent with that information.
  • If you know and don't do, you don't know.
  • The Story of the Elephant in the Circus

Dr. Freeman Hrabowski

Has served as President of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County since May 1992. He shared with us, the stories of a tough  life as a young participant in the civil rights movement, the importance his mother put on mathematics and reading, and makes us muse over the true definition of a genius.

  • My family is my primary example of hardworking progression, it is my motivation for everyday.
  • Have humbleness to not spoil people and be energetic to make a change.
  • "Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would be president of a predominantly white university."
  • "Watch your thoughts, for they become words.Watch your words, for they become actions.Watch your actions, for they become habits.Watch your habits, for they become characterWatch your character, for it becomes your destiny" 
  • Everyone has a story.  Learn and practice your story right.

Captain Roger G. Isom

Captain Isom put our foot on the ground... and our heads in the sky, with his inspiring speech on the importance of being ready and willing to win.

  • Trust but verify.
  • Prepare the answers for these questions, and be ready to say them at any moment:
  • What is leadership and why is it important?
  • What leadership skills do I have?
  •  Leadership and STEM how is that important? 
  • Can you influence a diverse group of young talented and motivated individuals towards a common goal, project, purpose and effort?
  • Lead by example, be decisive, character, honest, confident but not arrogant, courage, take responsibility, do the right thing the right way, take initiative, dedication, adaptability.
  • The elevator speech, take advantage of opportunity.

Dr. John Hodge

Engaged scholars in exploring how the Social, Academic, and Moral Education (S.A.M.E.) framework applies to the world of work in the future.

  • What is Peer Leadership?
  • Proficient: technically and academically proficient professionals committed to life long learning
  • Innovate: critical thinkers and creative decision makers/shapers
  • Articulate: effective communication. verbal communication to influence
  • Competitive: having the will, motivation and effort, and skills to win and make a difference
  • imaginative: the ability to visualize new possibilities
  • Selfness- leaders who value service with purpose and character
  • Your time, your turn, grow and glow.
  • What is your purpose for living?
  • Write handwritten thank you notes

Mario Rubio

Mr. Rubio, a current MUST scholar, shared his story and opportunities to keep in mind as we move forward.

  • NSF Summer Research Academy UTEP
  • NASA Student Ambassador Program
  • Reduced Gravity Flight Program 
  • Everyone has potential, they just need a helping hand.
  • Simplicity is for the expert, complexity for noobs.
  • A diploma is your ticket to change the world.

Tony Wagner

In the new global knowledge economy, many jobs are being either automated of ''off-shored", Tony Wagner explores what skills are essential for a successful career, college, and active informed citizenship. The Seven Survival Skills are:

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Collaboration Across Networks and Leading By Influence
  • Initiative and Entrepreneurship
  • Effective Oral and Written Communication,
  • Accessing and Analyzing Information
  • Curiosity and Imagination  
  • Agility and Adaptability
  • Practice learning from feedback
  • Know everyone
  • Be resourceful, open minded, flexible and keep a positive attitude.
  • As lifelong learners stay focused on the outcome, broaden your perspective and be prepared to do something different.

As a NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Scholar, I attended the 2011 Symposium were we networked with NASA scholars, representatives and staff, benefited from the numerous workshops, and learned from inspiring speakers. The symposium provided invaluable training to develop expertise in the "seven survival skills" necesary for success in the competitive climate of the 21st century.

Links: Hispanic College Fund Newsletter, The MUST Report Newsletter, NASA MUST NASA