More than a dozen members of Brookdale’s Physics and Astronomy Club spent a portion of this year’s spring break week touring the nation’s capitol and meeting with U.S. Representative Chris Smith (R-4) as part of an official club trip.
Thirteen students and instructional assistant Timothy Macaluso travelled to Washington D.C. on March 10 and 11 to tour the United States Capitol building, visit the National Air and Space Museum and explore a wide range of other sites. During their visit to the Capitol, Smith surprised the group by joining them for an impromptu meeting and photo opportunity.
The group discussed a number of policies and proposals recently put forth by the congressman, including legislation designed to help eliminate human trafficking and increase education funding for the Garden State.
“I found it to be very interesting,” said mechanical engineering major and current Brookdale NASA STEM Fellow Anthony Mauro. “He also stressed the importance of education to us.”
After the Capitol the group toured the Boeing Aviation Hangar, a ten-story facility displaying the space shuttle Discovery alongside a variety of other aeronautical exhibits. Seeing Discovery, Mauro said, was one of the highlights of the day.
“It was one of the best exhibits we saw, and something we had all looked forward to while planning the trip,” he said. “They had displays with all different types space capsules, as well as one that was actually used in space on Apollo 11. Besides the Discovery, there is a ton of early aircraft on display. The original Wright Brothers flyer is also displayed here.”
The following day the group toured the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, watching a Neil DeGrasse Tyson-narrated feature titled “Dark Universe” in the Albert Einstein Planetarium.
“The story talked about the dark matter and dark energy that binds the universe,” Mauro said. “It was a very cool show.”
Students also got to inspect a full-scale Mars rover at the museum, before heading out on a sightseeing tour of the city. The group was able to squeeze in visits to the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the White House before returning home.
“Unfortunately with only 2 days, there was only so much we could see,” said Mauro. “But as STEM students, we were all pretty mesmerized by the Air and Space Smithsonian exhibits.”
Learn more about the Physics and Astonomy Club here.
View more photos of the club’s trip to D.C. by visiting the Physics and Astronomy Club Facebook page.
Photos courtesy of Anthony Mauro