International Guest Confirmed to Attend STEMFest

19th Jun 2023

Flying into the North East from America, RTC North welcomes Jim Christensen as special guest to attend STEMFest this summer.  

Jim Christensen, now Chief Innovation Officer for the Aldrin Family Foundation and former Director of Education at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, is taking part in this year's STEMFest, an interactive STEM exhibition, organised by the North East STEM Hub at RTC North.  

STEMFest is a three-day exhibition to be held at the VERTU Motors Arena in Newcastle this July. The event is designed to fuel ambition and inspire the next generation into the world of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). This year there will be industry themed zones (Space, Technology, Environment and Energy and Manufacturing) where Jim will be dedicated to the Space zone, delivering an engaging activity involving Mars maps. 

As head of education, Jim led a team to design the new Astronaut Training Experience and Mars Base 1, an immersive experience preparing for spaceflight and living and working on Mars. He worked as part of the “Teaching from Space” program at the NASA Johnson Space Center where he coordinated the first Spaceflight Education Opportunity – a video conference between the crew of the International Space Station and students in classrooms. He has advised students and teachers on multiple experiments that have flown in microgravity aboard NASA’s Reduced Gravity Aircraft, the Space Shuttle Atlantis, the International Space Station and the SpaceX Dragon. 

Jim taught at the middle school level for 18 years and was awarded the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science in 1995. To improve the level of science teaching for elementary and middle school students, Jim established a science materials center that partnered schools across a region to provide hands-on science kits for classrooms and training for teachers. Over the years, Jim has worked with thousands of young people in the North East with the aim of igniting an interest in science and engineering. 

Jim Christensen comments: “Talking with students and meeting the people at the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution is irresistible for me, especially when I get to share the excitement of space exploration and its connection to STEM. I appreciate being a small part of the STEM revolution and how it may impact the future of our children.” 

CEO of RTC North, Jamie Ollivere added: “Jim’s energy is infectious, and you can see that in the excitement he generates at all our STEM events. He has such insight in to NASA, and the science and engineering involved in space flight, that young people listen and start to think about science in a different way. Hopefully, it ignites that spark, and we get more and more young people choosing STEM subjects as a pathway to rewarding and fulfilling careers.” 

Claire Willis, Team Leader at the North East STEM Hub comments: “It will be a privilege and an honour to welcome Jim to STEMFest. The North East is an incredible region for talent and growth, having someone with such presence and influence attending our event is integral for inspiring the schoolchildren and we cannot wait for Jim to experience the buzz of STEMFest for himself”. 

We look forward to welcoming Jim and excited for him to experience STEMFest.  

Find out more about the North East STEM Hub HERE

Thank you Cummins for being our Headline Sponsor this year.

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