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NASA offical to speak at Jack Kilby Science Day
Public invited to keynote address
new slt kilby-day-NASA-mug
Raphael Grau from NASA will speak at BCC on Thursday, Oct. 15.

An official from NASA will be the keynote speaker at the 12th annual Jack Kilby Science Day. The public is invited to attend as Raphael Grau, acting manager of external integration for the International Space Station Program, addresses area high school students. His talk will be at 9 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 15, in the Fine Arts Building at Barton Community College.
This is the first time the public has been invited to attend the keynote speech for Jack Kilby Science Day, an event that brings high school students to the BCC campus for a day of experiments and demonstrations.
Grau will speak about space technologies and the benefits of space exploration. He will address the importance of the human space flight program in its current state, how to participate in the future, and the journey to Mars.
Seating will be first-come-first-served. Priority will be given to visitors from local high schools.
The timing for a program on space exploration is exciting, said Jessica Vsetecka, who helps coordinate Jack Kilby Science Day at Barton. At the end of September, NASA scientists said they believe they have confirmed that water intermittently flows on the surface of Mars.
“I’m sure all the recent happenings with space exploration add to the relevance of this speaker. I’m eager to hear the reactions of both the students and instructors as well as any questions they may have,” Vsetecka said.
Space exploration has been a keynote topic at least twice before at Jack Kilby Science Day. The 2009 speaker was astronaut Steve Hawley, who discussed how telescopes changed our understanding of the universe. The 2012 keynote featured educators from the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Museum who discussed how Apollo 8 saved 1968.
After Grau’s address, Jack Kilby Science Day events will continue into the afternoon. Students will choose from several hands-on mini-sessions, demonstrations, competitions and experiments in various areas of science and technology.
For example, students may set up a gel electrophoresis to separate the colors in a dye, followed by a forensics activity to solve a mystery. Or they could attend a chemistry class and discover how to determine acids and bases of common household products.
Jack Kilby Science Day is sponsored in part by Kiwanis Club of Great Bend and Farmers Bank and Trust of Great Bend.
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