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NASA Astronaut to Speak to Area Students at Bowie State University

July 13, 2012

(Bowie, Md.) – A NASA astronaut will share stories about her career path to inspire area high school students at a Science Career Day on Friday, July 20 from 9:30 - 11:30 a.m. at Bowie State University‘s Center for Learning and Technology, Room 102.


 Dr. Jeanette Epps is one of six scientists discussing their career journeys at the event for 60 Prince George’s County students in the Pre-College Science Scholars Academy (PCSSA), a six-week summer residential program at Bowie State University, funded by a five-year National Science Foundation grant. Dr. Epps has been an astronaut since 2009 and is currently training for future flight assignments to the International Space Station.

The other speakers include:

  • Dr. James West, engineering research professor, Johns Hopkins University
  • Dr. Robert Grumbine, climate scientist, National Oceanographic Atmospheric Administration
  • Dr. David Jett, neuropharmacologist and toxicologist, National Institute of Health
  • Dr. Briana Pobiner, human evolutionary biologist, Smithsonian Institution
  • Joshua Parker, 2011 Maryland Teacher of the Year, Windsor Mill Middle School, Baltimore

The PCSSA program aims to increase the number of individuals from underrepresented groups in science-related careers. The participants attend schools from around the county, including Bowie, Eleanor Roosevelt, Gwynn Park, Suitland, and Oxon Hill high schools.

“It is an opportunity to inspire students with the beauty, challenge, and excitement of science and to influence them to consider and then choose a scientist's life. Students say the PCSSA program has given them a lot more confidence in moving forward in their classes,” said Dr. Anisha Campbell, principal investigator for the university’s Math Science Partnership - Minority Student Pipeline (MSP2) program.

Rising 10th graders are competitively selected every year to enter the three-year academy. Students attend five rigorous classes a day, taught by Bowie State professors and Prince George’s County high school teachers. By graduation, they have earned eight college credits in biology and chemistry.

“You learn a lot of skills like time management. It reinforces what you learn in school,” said Alexandra Boone of Largo, Md., a second-year PCSSA student and junior at Charles H. Flowers High School. Boone enjoys the chance to earn college credits, bringing her closer to her goal of becoming a doctor.

Bowie State students serve as PCSSA mentors and tutors, like Malcolm Towler, a senior biology major from Washington. “It’s a great opportunity to humble yourself. You don’t realize what you know until you have to go over the basics again.”



Bowie State University (BSU) is an important higher education access portal for qualified persons from diverse academic and socioeconomic backgrounds, seeking a high quality and affordable public comprehensive university. The University places special emphasis on the science, technology, teacher education, business, and nursing disciplines within the context of a liberal arts education. For more information about BSU, visit the website at