Brandi Geisinger serves as the lead evaluator of the Iowa State University Spaceflight Operations Workshop. This week-long workshop recruits undergraduate students and teachers to learn to think like a successful astronaut or engineer. Participants learn about topics such as operational thinking, leadership, planning, execution, and teamwork through a series of lectures and activities. Activities include teambuilding exercises, SCUBA training, flight simulations, wilderness preparedness exercises, and skydiving.
The evaluation of the Spaceflight Operations Workshop utilizes pre-program and post-program surveys, and was informed by best practices for evaluation, literature on students’ summer research experiences, and literature on servant leadership (e.g., Wong & Page, 2003). Impacts of the evaluation include gaining an understanding of the value of the program in preparing undergraduate students and teachers to think like a successful astronaut or engineer and engage in servant leadership, and supporting and encouraging data collection activities that demonstrate the impact of the program and provide guidance for program improvement.
Evaluation results indicate that students report gaining life skills and are better able to engage in operational thinking after participating in the workshop. They also gain leadership and teamwork skills, networking experiences, and content knowledge, and feel better prepared for their future careers.
Wong, P. T. P. & Page, D. (2003). Servant leadership: An opponent-process model and the Revised Servant Leadership Profile. Servant Leadership Research Roundtable, Virginia Beach, VA.