NASA Scientist Shares Message of Diversity and Inclusion in STEM

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- A NASA Scientist is in Des Moines Tuesday on this anniversary of Apollo 11's launch 50 years ago.

"I'm here just to be able to show, especially the kids, that everything is possible," said Dr. Renee Horton.

She is on a mission. She’s a quality engineer for NASA working on Artemis 1.

“Our goal is to get back to the moon in 2024. Our mission launches in 2020 and we`re going to go around the earth and figure-eight toward the backside of the moon, and it will be the furthest we've ever gone into space, so I`m excited about that, but that particular rocket we`re testing now is going to be the one that takes us to Mars,” said Dr. Horton.

She is also an author, writing a series of children's books about exploring the universe. “It`s 'Dr. H Explores', and it`s my way of constantly going into space."

She's sharing a special message at the Des Moines Public Library, trying to change the face of who studies science, technology, engineering, and math.

"If you Google right now a scientist, it still comes up white male. I want it to be so we saturate the market so much with others that when you google scientist, you get a range of people. That`s my big passion, about inclusion and diversity,” Dr. Horton said.

Her visit is part of a series of events at the Des Moines Public Library this week leading up to a big anniversary.

Franklin Avenue Library Assistant Sarah Early said, “All across America cities are celebrating the anniversary of man`s walk on the moon. It was a huge accomplishment. We are the only country in the world that has landed men on the moon, and I just wanted to be a part of that celebration.”

Dr. Horton is excited to be a part of the celebration, as she inspires future scientists. “The next great thing could be in somebody`s head that we decided don`t belong in that field, so I want to change that dynamic.”

You can meet Dr. Horton Tuesday at the Franklin Avenue Library. "The Eagle Has Landed, Remembering Apollo 11" starts at 6 p.m. She'll have historic materials about the moon landing provided by NASA. She also has events planned for Wednesday. You can find a full list of events at Des Moines Public Library on its website.

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