TORRANCE — El Camino College welcomes NASA Astronaut Jeanette J. Epps to Space Science Day 2013, scheduled from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 20, at the college’s planetarium and science classrooms.

Sponsored by El Camino College and American Honda Motor Co. Inc., and coordinated by the El Camino College Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Memorial Committee, the event is dedicated to Ellison Onizuka, a space shuttle Challenger astronaut who perished along with six other crew members during the tragic events of 1986. It is free and open to serious-minded science students in grades five through 12.

Astronaut Jeanette Epps

Epps was selected in July 2009 as one of 14 members of the 20th NASA astronaut class. She recently graduated from astronaut candidate training, which included scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in International Space Station systems, extravehicular activity (EVA), robotics, physiological training, T-38 flight training, and water and wilderness survival training.

Epps has a bachelor’s degree in physics from LeMoyne College, as well as a master’s degree and doctorate in aerospace engineering from the University of Maryland.

A NASA fellow during graduate school, Epps authored several highly referenced journal and conference articles describing her research, which involved extensive testing of composite swept-tip beams, comparative analysis of analytical models, and experimental data for shape memory alloys and the application of shape memory alloy actuators for tracking helicopter rotor blades.

After completing graduate school, Epps spent more than two years working at Ford Motor Company as a technical specialist in the Scientific Research Laboratory. Before leaving Ford, she completed proof-of-concept work on using magnetostrictive actuators to reduce vibrations that enter a vehicle via the suspension control arms, which resulted in a provisional patent.

Also while at Ford, Epps participated in research involving automobile collision location detection and countermeasure systems, which resulted in the granting of a U.S. Patent.

In 2002, Epps joined the CIA, where she spent more than seven years working as a technical intelligence officer. She received multiple performance rewards for her work there.

Epps will make a presentation to students, who will also join classroom activities and demonstrations led by El Camino College professors, students, and guests from JPL and other institutions.

Students will also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of hands-on science activities and experiments, including the traditional Egg Drop Competition, where students attempt to build the perfect apparatus that will let an egg drop from a rooftop without breaking when it lands.

For reservations or more information, call (310) 660-3487 or email

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