U.S. Embassy Apia, in partnership with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), hosted a virtual event with American astronaut Christina Koch on July 16. The event included 100 students ages 10 – 16 from Vaiala Beach School, Manumalo Baptist School, Samoa Primary School, Faatuatua Christian College, Le Amosa Preparatory School, Pesega College, Adventist School, Maluafou College, and Leififi College, along with American Corner advisees from the National University of Samoa.
Astronaut Christina discussed her journey to become an astronaut and her training to travel to space. Christina elaborated on her experiences in space and NASA’s future missions. She shared images of Samoa and the Pacific region that she captured while in space.
“Today’s event focused on building interest in STEAM education and inspiring students to work hard in school and follow their dreams,” said Chargé d’Affaires, Jonathan Lee Yoo.
Miss Laura of Pesega College stated that “our students are motivated to work harder to become better people like Christina. They couldn’t stop talking about her experiences and the information they learnt, and to think that they study medicine and science in space just blew our minds.”
“The U.S. Embassy in Apia is planning additional educational programs to further promote studies in the United States and build networks for students and schools to connect with U.S. educational institutes,” said Yoo.
Background on Astronaut Christina Koch.
Astronaut Christina Hammock Koch graduated from North Carolina State University with Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering and Physics and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering. She began her career as an Electrical Engineer at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Laboratory for High Energy Astrophysics. She was selected as an astronaut by NASA in 2013 and completed astronaut candidate training in 2015. In 2018, she was assigned to her first space flight, a long duration mission on the International Space Station.
Christina served as a flight engineer on International Space Station Expeditions 59, 60, and 61. Koch conducted six spacewalks, including the first three all women spacewalks, totaling 42 hours and 15 minutes. She has also set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman with a total of 328 days in space.
In some of her remote scientific field work, Christina served as the Station Chief of the American Samoa Observatory in Tula. Throughout her career, she has been involved in technical instructing, volunteer tutoring, and educational outreach.