The students listened to Zenter talk about his experience at NASA, going over his responsibilities and how he assists the astronauts.

Zenter started at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in 2007, working as a flight controller for the International Space Station’s computer and communication systems. He currently leads a team of 30 flight controllers who manage the IT systems on the space station and are helping develop the network systems and computer devices that will be used for our future lunar missions. He is also a CAPCOM, the person in mission control that speaks with the astronauts as part of the flight control team in Houston.

The students and Zenter also talked about space, possible careers, the growing number of women working at NASA and the importance of collaborating with others. They loved learning about how astronauts process urine into drinking water, how they are working to create Wi-Fi on the moon and how the Space stations get rid of trash by launching it into Earth’s atmosphere so that it can be burnt up.

The students had the best time speaking with Zenter and got to ask lots of questions. They reflected upon this experience with a quick writing activity after the virtual visit.

Ellis C. wrote, “Mr. Zenter was not only teaching me about his job, but he was inspiring me to go above and beyond. He taught me that you can have many jobs in your life so that when you get to your forever job you will have so many more skills. He inspired me by telling us that if someone tells you that “you can’t'” you can prove them wrong by showing them you can.”

Allison R. wrote, “I learned a lesson about teamwork and taking different paths and having your own ideas. Alone we can be good, but we can accomplish so much more when we work together.”

At the end Zenter showed the students a picture of one of the astronauts he works with who smiled from space so he could take a picture of her with a camera system he helped develop.