Who is going to be the first human to step on Mars? In this episode of Before IT Happened, Donna speaks with Pamela Greyer, an atypical character to this show but a visionary in her own right. Known as “The NASA Lady,” Pamela is neither an astronaut nor an engineer. Pam is a teacher whose mission is to bring STEM education closer to black and brown kids — especially girls — through the majesty and wonder of space. Listen now and learn how this lover of science and technology is opening up the minds of the next generation of engineers, mathematicians, and space travelers!
Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.
Jump straight into:
(02:17) - Pamela Greyer, from an English teacher to “The NASA Lady” - “Anyone can do what I do, they just have to want to inspire kids.”
(07:27) - Pamela’s fascinating childhood in Chicago - “I attribute a lot of who I wound up becoming to my mom because she made sure that I got broad experiences.”
(12:01) - Writing for high school TV and getting into STEM - “I have a brother and he would always buy me stuff that my mother would frown at and go, ‘That's not for girls, that's for boys’.”
(19:02) - How Pamela went from science to communications and then to teaching - “A very good friend of mine brought me in to do the computer classes for the elementary kids. That's where I really was able to parlay my science and my technology.”
(24:26) - Becoming “The NASA Lady” - “I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to have all of this NASA goodness in my hands that I can then share, especially with kids.”
(30:15) - Mary Jackson and the role of women in NASA - “These stories have been kept and have never come out, especially to young African-American girls to show them to not be afraid of math or science.”
(38:00) - Pamela’s dream space travel and the impact of her work - “I wish I had been able to take a group of students to Kennedy and actually see and witness in person a space shuttle launch.”
(47:33) - What is next for The NASA Lady? - “I am looking at working on bringing the aeronautics education laboratory back, and doing more work with aeronautics and aerospace engineering.”
Connect with Pamela ‘The Nasa Lady’ through Twitter
Follow all things NASA on Twitter
Check out NASA’s Kids’ Club
Go to NASA at Home for more activities for kids and families
See NASA’s resources for STEM Engagement for students of all ages
Learn more about NASA’s STEM Opportunities for Students
Read NASA’s When the Computer Wore a Skirt
Learn more about the Women of NASA
Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and Studio Pod Media with additional editing and sound design by Nodalab. The show coordinator is Deanna Morenci with audio engineering provided by Dave Clarke-McCoy. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood. All episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.