Astronaut Christina H. Koch in her uniform looking into the distance
Astronaut Christina H. Koch. STR/AFP via Getty Images

Kids Who Love STEM Can Watch Astronauts & Underwater Cave Explorers Online Today & Tomorrow

We might not have Space Camp this summer, but the USA Science & Engineering Festival is taking things online with the second week of X-STEM All Access running through May 19, providing kids with fun online programs and a glimpse of the STEM careers that await on the far side of the shut-in. Speakers include Dr. Anthony Fauci from the National Institutes of Allergies & Infectious Disease, a primatologist, an oceanographer, and an underwater cave explorer (yes, this is a job), among others.

NASA astronaut Christina H. Koch is taking part in the "Life Beyond Our World" session — she spent 11 months on the International Space Station, and has been on missions to Antarctic bases and the South Pole, but grew up in the everyday air of Michigan, and wants to encourage any kids who are passionate about science and technology to pursue the field. "Often people think you you know need to be president in the classroom" to become an astronaut, or go into technology, she tells Romper, but more often it's a question of access to experts or equipment.

School shutdowns are "really highlighting some of the already present disparities that existed people that may not even have internet in the home, and especially people that don't have resources to buy the supplies needed to continue," she says. The online symposium is free to access, and aims to bring experts and ideas to any kid who can get to a device to stream the events. "They're really making sure that as many barriers as possible have been taken away to people accessing the content and getting excited about some careers," says Koch, who completed the first all-female space walk, and has spent the longest time in space of any female astronaut.

Presented by AstraZeneca, the X-STEM All Access program is aimed at kids in grades 6 through 12, but anyone can tune in — especially if you want to hear more about life as an astronaut.

The X-STEM All Access Symposium runs on May 18 and 19. Register for free here.