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UW-Madison genetics graduate student selected as Solar System Ambassador

University of Wisconsin–Madison genetics graduate student Jaime Cordova at Griffith Observatory in Los Angeles, California. Photo by Katie Jacques.

University of Wisconsin–Madison genetics graduate student Jaime Cordova has recently been selected as a Solar System Ambassador for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Solar System Ambassadors volunteer on behalf of NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory to engage with the public and communicate the science and the excitement of NASA’s space-exploration missions and their discoveries. Cordova is currently planning several events in and around Madison to engage with the community about NASA’s missions and space exploration.

Originally from Los Angeles, Cordova’s science outreach experience involves working as a guide at two museums: the California Science Center, where he speaks about the accomplishments of the Space Shuttle Endeavour; and the Griffith Observatory, where he enjoys speaking to the public about discoveries focusing on the origins of life and other places in the universe that may harbor life. Although Cordova is a graduate student in Wisconsin, he maintains his positions at these two institutions so he can do outreach work when he visits home.

By participating in the Solar System Ambassador program, Cordova hopes to spark an interest among learners of all ages, helping to break the barrier that sometimes prevents the general public from appreciating science. In particular, he hopes to reach out to children and young adults and people from disadvantaged backgrounds.

The Solar System Ambassadors Program of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory offers information and excitement about real missions that explore our solar system. Volunteer ambassadors in communities throughout the country are selected by JPL based on their backgrounds and on their plans for public outreach activities. JPL provides ambassadors with educational materials and training. However, the opinions of Ambassadors are not necessarily those of NASA or JPL. Further information about the Solar System Ambassadors Program is available at http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/ambassador. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California.

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