Getting Students’ Imagination (and Projects) Into Space

Lauren Milord is Director of Programs at DreamUp, which gives students opportunities in space to prepare them for futures in STEM. She helps students around the world explore the differences between life on Earth, the International Space Station, or wherever humans go, or even helps get students’ own experiments into orbit for research on the ISS. As part of our Educating for Future Food Systems thoughtstarter session at Space for Food - From Vision to Reality, she’ll help us be inspired to inspire the next generation of space and food innovators.

What are you doing in your work?

I run programs to engage students in space and STEM, inspiring them and equipping them to pursue tomorrow's careers.

What prepared you for what you're doing?

My first grade teacher, Mrs. Nestler, first taught me about space and inspired me to think beyond Earth's atmosphere. Then, after college, I spent five years working in community engagement for Boston Public Schools, where I learned how crucial hands-on STEM experiences were for students, especially those who do not have role models to look up to in STEM fields.

What's an indicator that a food system (or space habitat) is working for the people in it?

Humans are thriving, not just surviving, in the system designed for them.

What is the most interesting work going on right now in your area?

I enable students to conduct research projects on the International Space Station, many of which are plant science investigations with the goal of supporting long-duration space travel. I also oversaw the production of the Space Farmer DreamKit, a product that gives learners the tools to explore space agriculture.

What innovation outside your direct area is most interesting to you?

The greater innovations happening in commercial space like private space stations, etc.

What problem related to Space for Food most needs to be addressed?

Developing food systems that allow humans to do more than simply survive long-duration space travel - i.e. the food that brings them comfort and joy.

Who is doing the most interesting work in your area (other than you, of course!)?

The students developing the projects that we oversee.

What's your favorite food, space, or ag memory?

Seeing SpaceX-12 launch in 2017, with DreamUp student researchers. This was my first launch after I joined the company.

What inspires or recharges you?

Irish dance and more recently, yoga.

Meet Lauren and other leaders in the intersection of education, space, and food at Space for Food- From Vision to Reality, our free May 4 event where you can also network with others exploring this exciting opportunity space. You can also follow Lauren on LinkedIn.