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Brookdale Newsroom

Astronaut Leland Melvin to Speak at Brookdale Community College on February 28
Melvin_CAA Speakers_Photo

Melvin discusses overcoming obstacles in A Journey Into Space and Beyond!

Astronaut, scientist and author Leland Melvin will speak at Brookdale Community College on Thursday, February 28 at 7 p.m. in the Collins Arena. In his address, A Journey Into Space and Beyond!, Melvin will discuss his personal journey from the gridiron to the stars. His multifaceted life as an astronaut, scientist, athlete and author serve as an inspiration to many aiming to overcome barriers, personally and professionally.

Melvin served on board the Space Shuttle Atlantis and International Space Station as a mission specialist and currently serves as NASA Associate Administrator for Education. He knows firsthand about overcoming obstacles. While training in the Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory to perform spacewalks, he suffered an injury that left him deaf. He remained with NASA, working at NASA’s Langley Research Center in the area of nondestructive testing. Melvin created optical fiber sensors measuring damage in aerospace vehicles. His work was published in numerous scientific journals. Melvin persevered, never giving up his dream of going into space. He eventually recovered partial hearing and was able to attain his dream.

Melvin earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond and a Master of Science Degree in Materials Science Engineering from the University of Virginia. A wide receiver at the University of Richmond, Melvin was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the 11th round of the 1986 NFL Draft. Hamstring injuries in training camp cut short his professional football career.

Melvin holds four honorary doctorates for his service in education, the sciences and philanthropy. He served as the co-chair on the White House’s Federal Coordination in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education Task Force developing the nation’s 5-year STEM education plan. His presence extends into popular culture. Melvin hosted the Lifetime competition series Child Genius and served as a judge on ABC’s Battlebots.

Melvin’s memoir, Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances, examines how community, perseverance and grace enabled him to succeed and to turn his aspirations into reality.

Despite setbacks and injuries on the gridiron and in his NASA training forcing him to realign and adjust his goals and timetable, Melvin’s focus and commitment remained steadfast.

A Publisher’s Weekly review of his memoir said:  “For someone of such remarkable achievement, Melvin demonstrates impressive humility and depth of character as he discusses overcoming myriad setbacks… Melvin writes honestly about his mistakes as well as his triumphs, urging readers to pursue their dreams with determination and hard work. “

Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the presentation to begin at 7 p.m. The event is open to the general public with a $5 admission charge. Advance tickets are required. All attendees must possess a ticket for entry. Tickets are free for current Brookdale Community College students, administrators, faculty and staff with a valid ID. Tickets are required for entry and are available at the Student Life and Activities ticket window on the lower level of the Student Life Center or by calling 732-224-2788.