Dr. Bernard Harris, the first African-American to walk in space, is on a so-called "Dream Tour," and he visited the Harlem Armory Monday to encourage young students. NY1’s Shazia Khan filed the following report.
Dr. Bernard Harris was the first African-American to walk in space, and now the former astronaut is on a mission to encourage young people to shoot for the stars.
“Math and science can take you places that you've never dreamed of,” said Dr. Harris.
Nearly 4,000 middle school students and teachers packed the Harlem Armory Monday to experience the "The Dream Tour."
The Harris Foundation created the program, which is a mix of motivational speeches, science demonstrations, and even a simulated shuttle launch. It’s a way to inspire students to pursue science, technology, engineering and math education.
“The first thing is to make math and science exciting, to connect the dots for them, to make it relevant, and that's why we have this Dream Tour,” said Dr. Harris.
“I thought that was an excellent way for kids to see it's not just sitting in a class, and I mean doing experiments and all that in class, but there's a career in that,” said David McKinney, a teacher.
Harris, who is also a trained flight surgeon, completed his first mission with NASA in 1993. He decided to purse aero-science when he watched a historic moment unfold on television.
“When I was 13 years old, I saw Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin land on the moon and that's where my dream of becoming an astronaut began,” said Dr. Harris.
He said he hopes the students present at the event will realize their dreams, too.
“What I learned basically is that anything is possible,” said sixth grader Alexis Aquino.
“I want to be an archaeologist because I want to discover new things from, which aren't new, but to me they're new,” said sixth grader Sidney-Ann Maldonado.
Since its launch in 2008, the Dream Tour has reached 42,000 students across the country. It hopes to inspire 25,000 more by the end of 2012.
For more information on the dream tour, visit www.daring2dream.org. For more information about programs designed to engage students in science technology engineering and math, visit ConnectAMillionMinds.com.