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Leland Melvin


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Leland Melvin on how he became an astronaut, sexism, racism and how going to space changed his perspective on how humankind should operate and treat each other.
Leland Melvin's story is a fascinating look at how perseverance and passion led him from the NFL to NASA. Before becoming an astronaut, he played professional football with the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. Armed with a BS in Chemistry and a MS in Materials Science Engineering, he traveled off-planet twice on Space Shuttle Atlantis to help build the International Space Station. By working on such high stakes teams, Leland developed a deep and nuanced understanding of effective team dynamics.   Upon hanging up his space boots, he led NASA Education and co-chaired the White House’s Federal Coordination in STEM Education Task Force, developing the nation’s 5-year STEM education plan.   After 24 years with NASA as a researcher, astronaut and Senior Executive Service leader, he shares his life story as an athlete, astronaut, scientist, engineer, photographer, and musician to help inspire the next generation of explorers to pursue STEAM careers.

More From Leland

When I Was the Janitor
Leland Melvin on how uplifting, speaking and encouraging all people is important.

I Went Completely Deaf
Leland Melvin on figuring out his purpose in the face in tragedy.

If You Fail
Leland Melvin on one catch in his high school football career resulting in a 180,000 scholarship for college all because he didn't give up.

I Wanted a Skateboard
Leland Melvin on being innovative.

See Past the Labels
Leland Melvin on discovering vision to see past what things are.

A Feminist Man Says Thank You
Leland Melvin giving a sincere thank you to women who have helped change the world.

We're All in This Together
Leland Melvin on having dinner in space while looking down at Earth and how we are all so connected and depend on each other for survival.

The Women at NASA
Leland Melvin on how women helped to get the space program where it is today and Katherine Johnson being his "shero."

The Key to Us Being Sucessful
Leland Melvin on how diverse teams generate better solutions.