Gabe Gabrielle-Former NASA Engineer, Interacts with Akshaya Patra Beneficiaries in Bengaluru

15th October, Bengaluru: The Akshaya Patra Foundation organised Space Talk, an interactive session with the former engineer at the Kennedy Space Center for NASA, George ‘Gabe’ Gabrielle for its beneficiaries in Bengaluru, Karnataka. It was aimed at providing children exposure to space education and opportunities and attended by 200 enthusiastic children from GHS Peenya and GHS Bagalgunte.

A former engineer at the Kennedy Space Center for NASA, Gabe visits schools to talk to students on the Space programme and inspire them. In this context, his efforts are in line with Akshaya Patra’s Giving Every Dream a Chance initiative, a mentorship programme to inspire children to pursue their dreams and passion. Gabe has previously served as the Director of Engineering for the US Air Force’s Special Operations Command.

In his two-hour-long session in Bengaluru, Gabe encouraged children to pursue their dreams by sharing anecdotes from his personal life and his tenure at NASA. He also spoke about life in NASA, a typical day at the International Space Station (ISS), the future of Mars exploration, among other things. On the eve of the interaction, Gabe said, “I think children are magical; they have a great imagination and a great desire to learn. These children should get a chance to live their dreams and Akshaya Patra, through Giving Every Dream a Chance programme, is giving them this chance. I really appreciate Akshaya Patra for supporting these children.” After the session, he spent an hour interacting with enthused children and motivated them.

The event was held in association with the Society for Space Education and Research Development (SSERD), a Bengaluru-based NGO which aims to ignite interest in space among students through its interactive programmes on the subject. 316 Akshaya Patra beneficiaries have enrolled under SSERD programme for the academic year 2019-20 as a part of the Giving Every Dream a Chance initiative—one of the several programmes launched by Akshaya Patra under the umbrella term National Endeavour for Student Transformation (NEST).

On the eve of this event, Nikhitha C., the CEO and co-founder of SSERD, said, “2 decades ago, we were introduced to computer science fundamentals at the primary schooling, because it was the start of the IT revolution and it was necessary to learn about it. Now, we at SSERD believe that every student should know about space at a basic level to be part of Space Revolution which has started. They need to understand how space is going to benefit them in their day-to-day lives, what are the different career options in Space, challenges that we are facing in space and on Earth, and how can we solve them using Space Technology.” She further added, “SSERD wishes to teach Space at school level and Akshaya Patra has been supporting us to do so through Giving Every Dream a Chance programme.”

Thanking Gabe Gabrielle for associating with the Foundation, Shri Chanchalapathi Dasa, Vice Chairman – The Akshaya Patra Foundation, said, “We are immensely grateful to Mr Gabe Gabrielle for talking to our beneficiary children, sharing his experiences, and encouraging them to pursue a career in space science. Many of these children dream of a career in space exploration. Mr Gabrielle’s words of wisdom would have inspired them in their pursuit. We are also thankful to Ms Nikhitha and SSERD for helping us nurture the dreams of our beneficiary children.” He also thanked the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India, and the Government of Karnataka for providing Akshaya Patra the opportunity to serve the children and support their dreams.

Society for Space Education Research and Development (SSERD) is a community committed to elevate and foster the education of space and research universally. It was co-founded by Nikhitha C and Sujay Sreedhar. As a body, it emphasizes on providing an innovative and exciting hands-on astronomy education. It is intriguing as well as a salient subject for the young generation.

In order to accomplish our motives, we have collaborated to innumerable like-minded organizations across the world. With this, we foresee a world with a command on the unexplored celestial bodies and planets. We strive to make astronomical education a lot more accessible. SSERD is one of the few independent organisations in the country in space education sector.

About Nikhitha C
SSERD was co-founded by Nikhitha C, a 23-year-old social entrepreneur and aerospace engineer who believes it is the time for space revolution. She has taught about Space to around 6000 Students throughout India and also started a branch in the Philippines. A recipient of the Kalpana Chawla Scholarship Fund awarded by the prestigious International Space University (ISU) in Europe, Nikhitha has won several awards including the Best Teacher in a competition organised by ISRO during National Science Day 2018 and the Best Science Communicator award from Karnataka Science & Technology Academy.

We believe that every child has a dream and each dream is valid. We harbour the principle to promote these dreams and provide the right path to the child to achieve that dream. A flagship initiative designed and implemented by The Akshaya Patra Foundation to nurture beneficiary children with uncommon dreams. The programme helps to provide exposure to various career opportunities for the beneficiaries. Through this mentorship initiative, children are being provided training in music, theatre, sports, robotics, and space education.

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