Mandan Middle School 8th graders meet NASA Engineer

Published: Apr. 8, 2022 at 9:08 PM CDT
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MANDAN, N.D. - Shooting for the moon isn’t a long shot for these Mandan middle school students.

Through creative use of technology these students were able to talk to Chris VanderWal who works at NASA as a Structural Test Engineer and also happens to be a graduate of Mandan Middle School.

Science teacher Taylor Hellman said it was important for his students to hear firsthand his success story.

“Seeing someone that came through Mandan public schools and has obtained the dream of working for NASA where you don’t really hear about that. and I think that now a days students really don’t set their goals as high as they should be where if you have a dream and you act on it, anything can happen,” said Hellman.

Students who were able to listen to VanderWal said they left with a new appreciation for hard work and dreaming big.

“I think it was important because its, he’s, he’s from a small town and you usually hear these big, big names working for these big companies and it kind of inspires me to be like just because I’m a small-town person doesn’t mean I can’t have big dreams or big goals,” said Grace Entzel an 8th grader at Mandan Middle School.

Hellman adds that, as a teacher, his goal is to make events showcasing successful students more often. He wants his former students who have achieved goals in whatever their careers are to come back and inspire new students.

He said he already has former students in high school that he believes will be some great leaders in the future.

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