SHARON EGGLESTON, a retired senior project engineer for Lockheed Martin, in NASA’s space shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center.

SHARON EGGLESTON, a retired senior project engineer for Lockheed Martin, in NASA’s space shuttle simulator at the Johnson Space Center.


What started with a visit to a pair of Coffin Elementary School kindergarten classrooms two decades ago has grown into a week-long annual affair.

Next week marks the 20th Space Week for aerospace educator Sharon Eggleston. Events are planned at all Brunswick schools, concluding with a full day of events Friday at Brunswick Junior High School. Keynote speaker Patricia Moore of NASA’s Johnson Space Center will be among the more than 20 presenters.

In addition to the school activities, the public can take part by taking in aerospace expert Brian Ewenson’s presentation at 5:30 p.m. Monday in Curtis Memorial Library’s Morrell Meeting Room. He will speak about what astronauts discovered about Earth the first time they left the confines of Earth’s orbit in 1968 bound for the moon.

The Space Day educational initiative’s ultimate goal, Eggleston said, is to promote math, science, technology and engineering education by nurturing students’ enthusiasm for the wonders of the universe and inspiring them to continue the work of today’s space explorers.

Northeast Regional Coordinator for Space Day since 2001, Eggleston said her team of scientists, engineers, STEM educators and members of the U.S. Navy has brought speakers and activities to classrooms throughout Maine to help inspire students to pursue STEM fields. Guests have included Dr. James Garvin, NASA’s chief scientist, and Maine Astronauts Charlie Hobaugh, Chris Cassidy and Jessica Meir.

A retired senior project engineer for Lockheed Martin, Eggleston spent more than 23 years doing design, integration and liaison of the AEGIS Weapon System on the DDG 51 Arleigh Burke Class Destroyer Program. In 2005, she received Lockheed Martin’s NOVA Award for her work promoting Space Day around the country and in Canada.

“I have a granddaughter. I want her as she gets older to have opportunities open to her that I really didn’t have when I was younger,” Eggleston said. “I have to say that where I started my career — as a file clerk — and where I ended — as a senior project engineer — that is all because someone believed in me and they showed me the way and gave me the opportunity to go back to school and get my degrees. So truly I am giving back.”

She recently read that in the next 15 years, Lockheed Martin is looking to hire 100,000 people to fill STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — jobs.

“I would just be thrilled if, in the state of Maine, we could continue to increase the number of students going into STEM careers,” she said, adding that for the state’s prosperity, it needs these high-paying jobs. “The only way we’re going to be able to do that is … to show students how to get there.”

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