This post is part of the Noble Impact Scholars Series, which highlights incredibly talented Noble Impact scholars and the work they’re pursuing.
Lauren Bradley is a Noble Impact student, and a graduating senior at eStem Public Charter School. Lauren has a passion for space, which has led her to incredible internships with the Museum of Discovery as well as Innovation Hub’s Launch Pad. She is a Co-Founder of Arkansas’s first ever Space Camp, GASA, which will be offered through the Innovation Hub this summer.
Lauren will attend the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville this fall. She is intending to major in Astrophysics or Aerospace Engineering. When asked what she wanted to do with her future, she said “I’d love to get an internship at SpaceX or NASA and ultimately become a leading science communicator. Much like Bill Nye the Science Guy.”
NI: Hi Lauren, tell us a little about yourself.
LB: I am currently interning at the Museum of Discovery and Arkansas Innovation Hub where I get to explore my love of education. I am a member of the Planetary Society and plan on pursuing a career in space exploration, preferably dealing with the extremes of space (black holes and neutron stars).
NI:What sparked your interest in space?
LB: My dad used to wake me up to view solar eclipses and stargaze when I was little. We would always finish the night or morning off by watching Star Wars Episode IV. We’ve recently upgraded from using a pair of binoculars to a fifty pound Dobsonian based newtonian reflector telescope. I’ve been fuelling my passion ever since with books, podcasts, and lectures- mostly by Neil deGrasse Tyson.
NI: You’re starting a space camp in Arkansas. Can you tell us a little more about this?
LB: GASA (Greater Arkansas Space Adventure camp) is a camp that allows kids from ages 8 to 13 to explore their passion for space. We’ve partnered with the Central Arkansas Astronomical Society to demonstrate how fascinating our universe is. Our campers will get to explore topics from aerospace engineering to astronomy and it’s definitely going to be the coolest camp in Arkansas. Maybe even the Solar System. I’d love to grow GASA into a community of all ages!
NI: Where did the idea come from?
LB: I attended space camp for the first time in 5th grade and it definitely helped give me a push in the right direction. Seven years later, I began wondering why there’s no outlet for kids in Arkansas with a passion for space. I joked with Joel Gordon about building (long time friend and boss) a model Curiosity Rover over twitter and the conversation turned into us trying to create our own NASA in central Arkansas. We reshaped our idea for a personal NASA into a space camp in central Arkansas.
NI: What has been the biggest challenge developing the space camp thus far?
LB: The biggest challenge has been trying to decide what to fit into our 5 day schedule. There are so many cool possibilities, but narrowing down has been very difficult.
NI: What’s your personal definition of success, and how are you relating that to Space Camp?
LB: I measure my success by how much I have learned from an experience. You can learn a lot from succeeding and failing. There will be a lot of both of those during GASA, and in turn, a multitude of learning experiences for our campers and staff.