Astronaut Curbeam visits Antigua

The U.S. Embassy to Barbados, the Eastern Caribbean, and the OECS was pleased to host retired astronaut Robert Curbeam in Antigua, where he delivered a free public lecture on the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) on December 5 at the Multi-Purpose Cultural Center in St. John’s.

“It’s important that we make sure that STEM is something that all nations participate in,” Curbeam said. “You don’t know where the next great scientist, mathematician, or engineer is going to come from. So it’s important to go to places like Antigua and meet these young people and tell them, ‘If you want to be that next great mathematician, you can be.’”

In her opening remarks at the public lecture, U.S. Embassy Bridgetown Public Affairs Officer (PAO) Yolonda Kerney said the Embassy was pleased to host astronaut Curbeam in Antigua after his successful visit to Barbados in October. “Mr. Curbeam’s visit to Antigua underscores the importance of STEM education and conveys how much these fields contribute to space exploration. He has had an impressive career that included serving on three space shuttle missions and undertaking a record-tying seven spacewalks. Those accomplishments would not have been possible, however, without his early educational focus on STEM.”

Distinguished members of the audience included Minister of Education Michael Browne, Director of Education Clare Browne, and Minister Browne’s Chief of Staff Charise Roberts.

In his remarks, Minister Browne commended the U.S. Embassy for the program and underscored the Ministry of Education’s commitment to STEM education.

During his time on Antigua, Curbeam also paid a visit to the American Corner located in the Antigua National Library, where he read the popular Dr. Seuss’ story “There’s No Place Like Space” to a group of about 40 preschool children. He was joined at that reading session by PAO Kerney, who read the classic Dr. Seuss story, “Green Eggs and Ham.”  While at the American Corner, Curbeam also donated several STEM-related books to the National Library. Also present at the book donation was a small group of secondary school students who are pursuing studies in the STEM fields. They excitedly interacted with Curbeam, who used the opportunity to speak to them about the importance of STEM education, and shared his educational journey.