Viera students enjoy special day at Kennedy Space Center


A group of students from Brevard County public schools, including Viera's John Sayut, Ethan Hund and Gus Dahl, had a chance to take part in the 2017-2018 Brevard Top Scholars event hosted by the NASA Education and Youth Engagement Division at Kennedy Space Center.

VIERA VOICE Courtesy of NASA/Bill White


As part of the 2017-2018 Brevard Top Scholars event hosted by the NASA Education and Youth Engagement Division at Kennedy Space Center, three Viera High students got the experience of a lifetime.

Not only did Viera seniors John Sayut, Ethan Hund and Gus Dahl get to have lunch with retired astronaut Tom Jones, they also took part in a roundtable discussion with NASA engineers, scientists and business experts.

One of the big highlights was getting a special behind-the-scenes tour.

“We went inside the Vehicle Assembly Building, which was pretty spectacular,” Sayut said. “It looks like the Death Star.”

Sayut, Hund and Dahl were chosen by their AP Science teachers to take part in the event, which also included students from all Brevard County public schools.

A press release put out by NASA said Jones — who flew four missions aboard the space shuttle — gave the students a “humorous talk, interspersed with videos, focused on the evolution of space food from the early days of space exploration, including the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo programs, to the space shuttle and International Space Station. He also talked about the challenges of transporting or growing food on long-duration missions such as to Mars.”

During the round-table discussion, students had the chance to hear from a panel of experts on various subjects.

“They talked a lot about what they do, and what their path was education-wise,” Sayut said. “A lot of them would get a master’s somewhere and go work for NASA while doing their Ph.D.s and stuff like that. It gives you a perspective for what you want to do with your career.”

Sayut, who wants to become either a bio-medical or mechanical engineer, said he got a lot out of the experience.

“I think I learned a lot,” he said. “It’s easy to look at some scientific concepts — like gravity or simple chemistry — but seeing aerospace engineering or electrical engineering and the basics of that being put into very extreme, very awesome applications, that was what I got out of it, I would say.

“… It was a really awesome time, an eye-opening experience.”