Leland Melvin image

Leland Melvin - NASA Astronaut

By Harris Chimatiro

The National Commission for Science and Technology in conjunction with former National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut Melvin Leland conducted a lecture to Polytechnic students as a way of inspiring them to be the best that they can be in everything they do.

The College Principal,President of Malawi Institute of Engineers, Andrew Thawe and the Dean of the Faculty of Engineering attended the lecture which took place in the Main Lecture Theatre.

Speaking at the event the dean of Engineering, Dr Theresa Mkandawire said that Science and Technology is needed for Africa to develop. She further commended the College principal for the development he has made to the field of Engineering at Polytechnic since he started working for the college.

On the other hand, the college principal Professor Grant Kululanga thanked the American embassy and National Commission for Science and Technology for organizing the Public lecture to Engineering students. However, he also commended National Commission for Science and Technology for the help that it is rendering in some of the projects that are going on at the Polytechnic.

The main speaker at the event, Melvin Leland who is former NASA astronaut stressed on the establishment of NASA academy for all students studying science courses in Africa. "Many people come from different background and its not the background you come from that matters but its what in your head that matters", said Leland.

He further said that students who have access to the Internet could have free classes online from institutions such as Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard and Stamford. "If someone is willing to pull their sleeves up and work hard they can overcome any obstacle they face and having access to that information is so important to everyone.

Leland continued inspiring Engineering students that they can achieve anything in life despite the fact that they are coming from poor background. "If you have knowledge in your head that people want, if you understand Math and Science you can help in solving problems and people will pay you for that." Said Leland.

On the part of Engineering students, Leland informed them about internship and fellowship programs for all students around the world in United States of America. He added that NASA education has a website that talks about International internships for students all over the world. This was the first time for a NASA astronaut to hold a public lecture at the Polytechnic.