It isn’t everyday that one gets an invite from the White House and Professor Jean Frank, Interim Associate Dean STEM at Virginia Peninsula Community College, briefly thought it might be a hoax. As she read further, she knew that it was a genuine invitation via email to be part of a workshop focused on growing and diversifying the space workforce.
According to Professor Frank, the email explained that during a December 2021 National Space Council meeting, Vice President Harris tasked the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) with leading an effort to use space to inspire more students to explore STEM fields and identify and reduce barriers to entering and staying in the space workforce.
The OSTP along with the National Space Council, and its Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Task Force, created a partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) wanted experts like Jean Frank to participate in a roundtable and workshop to foster a robust conversation among space workforce stakeholders on sector-specific needs to inform workforce strategy for the space industry.
The morning focused on identifying in-demand occupations, skills, and competencies in the space workforce, hosted by senior leaders from the Department of Labor including Chief Innovation Officer Chike Aguh and Senior Policy Advisor Manny Lamare. The afternoon included a roundtable hosted by leaders from the Space Council and OSTP including Director of Space STEM Policy Elaine Ho and Senior Policy Advisor Dr. Quincy Brown highlighting evidence-based practices to grow and diversify the space workforce.
Professor Frank added there were representatives from about 90 companies and educational institutions in attendance. Industry teams included CEOs, hiring managers, technicians, and engineers. Educational Institutions sent professors, staff and others with STEM degrees in engineering, and engineering technology.
In addition to her many years of technician-level work and many technical certifications and degrees, Professor Frank stated in a MatEdU interview and profile that “materials matter more than ever. Materials are being manipulated for environmental concerns, ex: coatings to create corrosion free metals, glass that automatically darkens, flexible solar cells, fuel cell membranes, etc. 3D printing has opened a whole new manufacturing environment, parts that can be dreamed up and created almost overnight. Materials are expanding to include 3D electric ink – conductive ink, for the 3D printers. Allowing for the integration of electric circuits within the 3D printed objects. Nano technology has also opened new worlds of manufacturing for composites, semiconductors, metallic and glass films, etc.” You can read her full bio here on the
MatEdU Partner Page. Click the “View Spotlight” link on the right side to open the pop-up window.
When you read any part of Jean Frank’s resume, you will know that the White House would want her at any meeting like the one she recently attended. She has the deep and valuable bank of knowledge and hands-on, boots-on-the-ground list of experiences that the government would want to tap into. No hoax there.