Dream it, and then do it. Boeing Space Exploration mechanical engineer and Rice University outreach program co-founder Tony Castilleja Jr. encouraged hundreds of middle and high school students to help build the next-generation of spacecraft during appearances at three SBISD schools and in a community presentation.
Castilleja spoke about his own life journey and his passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) during three campus talks. He spoke to 400 students at Westchester Academy for International Studies, 250 more engineering program students at Memorial High School, and 200 Landrum Middle School sixth-graders. An evening public talk was also held at Spring Woods High.
The Dec. 4 program was sponsored through the district’s Jason Project, an ongoing project that supports STEM-based learning. Chevron has funded the Jason Project through generous grants.
While visiting in SBISD, Castilleja met and shared with three SBISD students who have traveled overseas and studied with Jason Project ocean research scientists and explorers. The three students, known as Jason Argonauts, include Fredy Corrales, a junior, and Chase Gonsoulin, a sophomore, both of whom attend Northbrook High School; and Allie Eggert, a junior at Memorial High. Another student, Paloma June, is a sophomore at Westchester Academy for International Studies.
Born in Brownsville, Texas, Castilleja graduated from Baytown Sterling High, and then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering from Rice University. He first joined Boeing in 2006 as an intern. Castilleja works today as a systems engineer for business development for Boeing Space Exploration, which is based in Houston.
Boeing Space Exploration is involved in developing and marketing next generation spacecraft that will help establish a safe, innovative and transformational system to support human space exploration beyond Earth’s gravity.
Earlier, Castilleja was a team member of Boeing’s Commercial Crew Development Rotation Program. The program supports Boeing’s CST-100 spacecraft designed to function as as a reliable transport vehicle in ferrying of U.S. astronauts to and from the International Space Station.