NASA astronaut to help showcase careers in engineering

NEW PALTZ — The School of Science and Engineering at the State University of New York at New Paltz will host a day-long event on Wednesday, Feb. 19, to introduce students from the region’s school districts to the wonders and excitement a career in engineering may offer.

Special guest and keynote speaker Roger K. Crouch, a payload specialist at NASA who has logged more than 471 hours in space, will address approximately 400 students from the four-county region at this inaugural event titled, “The New Faces of Engineering.” The event is one of a number of activities highlighting the annual National Engineers Week that begins Feb. 16.

In light of recent events at NASA, and in line with one of NASA’s three major missions to “inspire the next generation of explorers,” Dr. Crouch has renewed his commitment to share his experiences in the space program and to stress the importance of math and science to today’s young students.

“For me, science has always been a lot of fun,” said Dr. Crouch, “and students seem to appreciate that more when they become aware of how many times each day their life is made better through scientific and engineering advances over the past 30 to 50 years.”

Steve Poskanzer, Interim President at SUNY New Paltz, said, “I am delighted that the college is showcasing the growing strength and distinction of its engineering program. Helping to attract a next generation of students to become engineers is very important, given the central role that technology and its wise application play in our society.”

“The New Faces of Engineering” theme focuses on the critical need for future scientists and engineers and the importance of getting this message to all students — especially female and minority students. Throughout the day, students grades 7 through 12 will participate in hands-on mechanical and electrical projects led by New Paltz professors and students, and visit displays of cool products designed by engineers from more than 25 area high-tech companies.

John Harrington, Dean of the School of Science and Engineering, said that he is excited about the upcoming celebration. “Opportunities to participate in hands-on mechanical and electrical engineering workshops, discussions with SUNY New Paltz engineering faculty and students, and the chance to attend the keynote presentation will afford these students a truly exciting educational day,” he said.

Lead sponsors for the event include IBM Corporation, Philips Semiconductors and Plasmaco.

Note to media: If you plan on attending this event, please contact the SUNY New Paltz Office of Public Affairs at (845) 257-3245. For more information on the School of Science and Engineering at SUNY New Paltz, visit