N.C. A&T to Honor Ronald McNair; NASA Official to Keynote

mcnair_ronaldx341.jpgGreensboro, N.C. (Jan. 19, 2018) - North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University will host the 32nd annual Ronald E. McNair Celebration Luncheon at 11:30 a.m., Friday, Jan. 26, in the Alumni-Foundation Event Center. The annual event honors the life and legacy of alumnus Ronald E. McNair, who tragically died in the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. 

In 1978, McNair, one of the first African-American astronauts, was selected as a mission specialist astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Shuttle Program. His first flight was completed Feb. 11, 1984. Two years later, he was aboard the Challenger for his second mission when it experienced fatal malfunctions upon takeoff. McNair died along with six other crew members on Jan. 28, 1986. 

The keynote speaker for the commemorative program will be alumnus and Greensboro native, Joeletta Patrick, manager of the Minority University Research and Education Project, NASA. She will discuss “Modern Figures – Being a Minority at NASA.” 

Patrick began her career with NASA at Johnson Space Center, working as a flight controller for the International Space Station and as an engineer doing time-phased power analysis. Her career has been marked by leadership, new challenges and increasing responsibility. In 2010, she began serving as the project manager of Johnson’s Minority University Research and Education Project. She was selected to serve at NASA Headquarters as a MUREP Education Fellow in Washington, D.C., and ultimately selected to be a Senior Fellow at the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

In addition to her current role, Patrick has worked with internal and external organizations, institutions, federal agencies, and the community through various NASA Office of Education assignments. Her work reflects her commitment to leveraging university relationships and investments, growing the number of diverse students prepared to work in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-based fields, supporting STEM initiatives and serving as a spokesperson for NASA's commitment to STEM.
The program will also include a presentation from STEM students, remarks from university officials and special guests. 

Space is limited. RSVPs are required by contacting Chantal Fleming at 336-334-7982.

Media inquiries should contact Tiffany S. Jones at 336-256-0863 or tsjones@ncat.edu.