NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology

Tara Hernandez, a sixth-grader at St. Elizabeth's school in Pasadena, hopes to become an astronaut someday, but will start by shadowing her mother through a workday at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Thursday, April 25, as part of the national "Take Our Daughters to Work" day.

Tara is one of more than 250 sons and daughters of JPL employees who have signed up to spend the day learning about the world of work in space exploration. She will help her mother, Kay Ferrari, of JPL's Public Services Office, coordinate and check out the exhibits scheduled for the afternoon, including the Laboratory's spacecraft assembly facility and the "Mars Yard" artificial Mars surface where robot rovers are tested.

"The children will have a chance to see a variety of stimulating career opportunities at JPL in science, engineering and business," said Hector Del Castillo of JPL's Advisory Council for Minority Affairs and one of the organizers of the event, now in its fourth year.

At JPL, it will not be just daughters-at-work day. Matthew McKinney, a sixth-grader in Cerritos, will follow his father, John McKinney, through meetings for JPL's Galileo mission to Jupiter. Matthew is a baseball and soccer player and a fan of the TV drama "Space: Above and Beyond," McKinney said. "Coming to JPL is coming down to Earth for him," he added.

Third-grader Erica Deutsch of Chatsworth, a budding musician, actress, and science fair contender, will divide her time between her father's office at the Deep Space Network and her mother's in the Galileo science data team. She also wants to see the Saturn-bound Cassini spacecraft now being assembled and the Space Photo Gallery in the Lab's Space Flight Operations Facility.


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