NASA Expert to Speak at College's April 1 'Visitation Day'

Published 02.16.2006


Donner GrigsbyA NASA engineer will be on campus for Pennsylvania College of Technology's Visitation Day on Saturday, April 1, offering several presentations about the future of aviation.

Donner Grigsby, a certified information systems security professional at NASA's Langley Research Center in Virginia and the agency's 2004 "Speaker of the Year" is scheduled to speak at 9 a.m., 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. in the Parkes Automotive Technology Center.

"We are thankful to NASA for assisting us in finding a speaker of such background to help educate the public on the advancements in aviation and future career possibilities awaiting them," said Colin W. Williamson, dean of transportation technology.

Grigsby served in the military as a naval air-traffic controller, and, following his tour of service, worked as a factory-trained service technician for American Honda Motor Corp. at local motorcycle dealerships.

He was recruited by NASA in 1986 to join its six-year Engineering Technician Apprentice Program, in which he was assigned to the Mechanical Equipment Support Section as an outside machinist performing maintenance and modifications to Langley's wind tunnels and research laboratories.

In 1992, he began working in engineering to design aerospace models and wind-tunnel hardware, while continuing his studies at Old Dominion University.

In 1996, the crew systems organization selected him as its systems integration engineer for two elements of NASA's Terminal Area Productivity program, a cooperative interagency effort implemented to improve the flight operations of the National Airspace System among NASA, the Federal Aviation Administration and private industry.

TAP specifically was interested in the development and integration of new and enabling technologies that could enhance global air transportation by making it faster and safer. Both programs were awarded, along with numerous other accolades, the prestigious Turning Goals Into Reality Awards that Grigsby characterizes as the Oscars for engineering achievement, "except without the paparazzi or red carpet."

Grigsby received his bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Old Dominion in 1995 and graduated from Christopher Newport University with a master's in applied physics and computer science in 2005. As part of the thesis requirement, he developed a prototype micro-gravity strength-training system that is intended for use aboard the International Space Station.

The college's Visitation Day is an excellent opportunity for first-time visitors to learn more about Penn College, its majors and facilities.

The event provides any person interested in enrolling at the college, along with family and friends, the opportunity to attend information sessions to learn more about choosing a major, admissions processes, financial aid, academic programs and housing; take a sample placement test; tour the campus; meet with faculty and school deans; and interact with current students to learn more about student organizations and campus life.

To learn more about Visitation Day, call toll-free (866) 811-1517, send e-mail or visit on the Web .

For more information on aviation and other majors in Penn College's School of Transportation Technology, call (570) 327-4516, send e-mail or visit online.