The saying that if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life is true, said Russell Romanella, director of safety and mission assurance at NASA’s John F. Kennedy Space Center.
Romanella spoke to students from North Augusta and Midland Valley High schools in the North Augusta High auditorium Friday.
He talked about landing a career he loves and about the history and accomplishments of the space program.
When the astronauts landed on the moon, it built a sense of confidence and curiosity throughout the country, Romanella told the students.
“It changed the psyche of the country,” he said, noting Americans had a stronger belief that “we can do anything.”
He also spoke about the commercialization of space.
“(It) opens space up to new kinds of business,” he said.
Students asked him questions about what has been discovered in space, the characteristics of black holes, and about Romanella’s daily duties and how he got to the position he has today.
He said he got his foot in the door at NASA while attending college by participating in a co-op program.
He had an interest in astronomy so when he learned of the opportunity, he didn’t hesitate to apply.
When he got the call, he was told he was the first person they called who answered the phone, he said.
After encouraging the students to pursue their passions and seek out opportunities, Romanella said that the lesson for others is that “things happen because you make them happen – and a little bit of luck.”
Romanella’s visit was sponsored by the Astronomy Club of Augusta which worked alongside North Au-gusta High astronomy teacher Beth Moyer to plan the program.
The program demonstrated how exciting astronomy can be, said Moyer.
“This was a wonderful educational opportunity for our students,” she said. “I hope they take away an appreciation for space and astronomy, and that we shouldn’t take it for granted.”
Visit www.angelfire.com/ga/astronomyclubaugsuta for more information about the Astronomy Club of Augusta.