Onizuka Space Science Day 2022

Saturday, March 12, 2022



8:00 – 8:50am       Registration (Marsee Auditorium)

9:00 – 9:05am        Welcome from El Camino College

9:05 – 9:10am        Introductions from Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee

9:10 – 10:15am       Keynote Address (Marsee Auditorium), NASA Astronaut Dr. Michael R. Barratt

10:15 – 10:30am     Q&A with the Keynote Speaker

10:30 – 10:45am    Travel Time

10:45 – 11:30am     Breakout Session A (Science Complex)

11:30 – 11:45am      Travel Time

11:45 – 12:30pm     Breakout Session B (Science Complex)

12:30 – 1:00pm      Lunch (in front of Bookstore)

12:45pm                    Egg Drop Competition (outside on the east side of the Natural Science Building)


Click below for the PDF program:

Onizuka Day 2022 Program PDF



To donate click here:  DONATE


2022 Onizuka Space Science Day Breakout Sessions


OPEN EVENTS (no tickets needed)


Robotics Demonstration

Christopher Hirunthanakorn – Professor, Robotics (ECC) & Victoria Martinez – Faculty Coordinator, Robotics (ECC)

Come observe and participate in ECC student robotics competitions and demonstrations throughout the day with robots built by students like you!
Location: ITEC West Patio


Get Your Hands on Chemistry

Laura Saldarriaga – Professor, Chemistry (ECC) & Judy Valle – Technician, Chemistry (ECC)

Make squishy polymers, turn ink into a rainbow of colors, and set off a chemistry-powered rocket. Perform these science tricks and more in our amazing outdoor demonstrations!
Location: Science Courtyard

TICKETED EVENTS (tickets required)


1 A/B     NASA Mars Missions and Little Green Men

Paul Yun – Professor, Mathematics (ECC)

The red planet has captured our imagination for centuries. From ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Chinese astronomers, to NASA scientists of today, learn about the history of our fascination with Mars. Explore past, present, and future Mars missions, and experience a demonstration of the Pathfinder landing in 1997.
Location:  Chemistry (Chem) 105


2 A/B     Sparks in Space

Jessica Ornelas &  Jared Head (Columbia Memorial Space Center)

Electricity is essential to everyday life. It allows us to flip a switch to light a room or generate enough power for our electronics. The energy produced by chemical reactions has also made innovations possible by powering electric vehicles and spacecrafts. By creating your own circuit currents, each participant will get a taste of what power can really do.
Location: Chemistry (Chem) 162


3 A/B     Paint Making – Prussian Blue

Pete Doucette – Professor, Chemistry (ECC) & Ann Pham –  Laboratory Technician (ECC)

Prussian blue is an intense blue pigment used in crayons, poster paint and blueprints.  Students will make and keep a sample of poster paint. *Caution – Hands and clothing may get blue stains.
Participants must be in 6th grade or older.
Location: Chemistry (Chem) 166


4 A/B     The US Space Force Journey to Space

Jonathan Stroud (United States Space Force)

Join a group of US Space Force space professionals to learn how satellites are launched.  Be a Space Launch Director and command the launch of model rockets that you create.  Live your dreams and send your paper rocket into ‘space’!
Location: Life Science (LS) 108


5 A/B     Strawberry DNA

Sanda Oswald – Lecturer, Biology (ECC)

Deoxyribonucleic acid is the double-helical molecule that carries your genetic instructions. In this workshop, you’ll learn how to extract and purify the DNA from strawberries using household items. Come and play with the molecule of life!
Location: Natural Science (Nats) 127


6 A/B     The World of Insects

Bryan Carey – Professor, Biology (ECC)

Insects are extremely beneficial to the environment.  Come view live and preserved insects in the ECC insect collection.  You will learn about a few of the benefits and services insects provide mankind and the environment.
Location: Natural Science (Nats) 129


7 A/B     Fossils, Gemstones, and Minerals

Chuck Herzig & Jwan Amin – Professors, Geology (ECC)

Where are the best places to hunt fossils? What incredible treasures might you find? Students will participate in the hands-on identification of fabulous fossils, gems, and minerals, and learn the secrets of fossil hunters and other geology superstars!
Location: Natural Science (Nats) 206


8 A/B     The Buzz on Space “Bugs”

Michael Stupy –  Professor Emeritus, Microbiology (ECC)

Learn about weird and wonderful mutated space microbes.  These tiny organisms are stowaways and hitchhikers into space!
Location: Life Science (LS) 130


9 A/B     Paper Airplane Contest

Elizabeth Bermudez, MESA and ASEM Students (ECC)

Students will be given materials and guidelines to construct a paper airplane. The airplanes will compete on distance, direction traveled, and landing accuracy as a target will be placed down the line of sight.
Location: Physics (Phys) 108


10 A/B     Topo Treasure Hunt

Julienne Gard – Professor, Geography (ECC)

Use the science of geography, map reading, and orienteering to search for hidden symbols on campus. Complete the topographic map puzzle to collect prizes.
Location: Natural Science (Nats) 219


11 A/B     Marine Biology–Outstanding Ostracods

Catherine Fox – Lecturer, Biology (ECC)

If you’re interested in marine biology, you’ll love learning about ostracods. These tiny, incredible crustaceans swim around in bodies of water all over the world. Experiment with bioluminescent ostracods (Sea Fireflies) that glow blue in the dark, and learn how these creatures were used in wartime.
Location: Natural Science (Nats) 205


12 A/B     Puzzlers in Everyday Physics

John Coroneus & Zeke Murdock – Professors, Physics (ECC)

Bicycle wheels, balls, cow magnets and more – predict and then see the results of amazing popular demonstrations in physics.
Participants must be in 6th grade or older.
Location: Physics (Phys) 112


13 A/B     Stars, Planets,  and Constellations (Planetarium and Telescope Show)

Shimonee Kadakia & Julio Rodriguez & Susan Stolovy – Professors, Physics and Astronomy (ECC)

See what’s up in the sky! You will learn names of easy-to-find stars, constellations, and planets visible tonight. See a fireball, a meteor shower, and other celestial objects. For the other half of the show, you will explore the workings of telescopes and view the Sun (weather permitting). A young astronomer’s delight!
Location: Planetarium


14 A/B     Beautiful Brains

Merium Mubarak, – Professor, Anatomy and Physiology (ECC) & Cheryl Abbani – Lecturer, Anatomy and Physiology (ECC)

Your brain is the control center for your body. Take a journey into the brain to learn how this complex and fascinating organ functions, creates memories, and gets affected by what you do and see. Experience a state-of-the-art 3D digital cadaver, just like the ones used in medical schools!
Location: Life Science (LS) 113


15 A/B     Microgravity and the Human Body

Adam Majewski – Lecturer, Anatomy (ECC)

Have you seen videos of astronauts floating in space? Explore the effects of microgravity on humans, and discover surprising effects on muscles, bones, the heart, and other parts of the body.
Location: Life Science (LS) 105


16 A/B     Eyes on the Solar System

NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors

Explore the planets, their moons, asteroids, comets and the spacecraft exploring them from 1950 to 2050. Ride with the Perseverance Rover as it lands on Mars or check out the Webb Space Telescope as it prepares to send back its first images this Summer—all from the comfort of your computer.
Location: Life Science (LS) 134


17 A/B     Make Your Own Spectroscope

Shanna Potter – Professor, Chemistry (ECC)

Investigate different types of light. After constructing your own spectroscope, examine light coming from a variety of sources including the sun, neon lamps, and fluorescent light bulbs. See how different elements glow in unique colors and use your spectroscope to identify unknown elements!
Location: Chemistry (Chem) 165


18 A/B     Solving the Mystery of the Owl’s Dinner

Mia Dobbs – Professor, Anatomy & Physiology (ECC), Ernie Kwok – Lecturer, Biology (ECC)

Experience how paleontologists and forensic scientists solve mysteries of the past and present. Using detailed observations, you will collect, identify and piece together the skeletal remains of an owl’s dinner victim.
Location: Natural Science (Nats) 218


19 A/B     Egg Drop Construction

Shaun Cook – Professor, Chemistry (ECC) & Sara DiFiori – Professor, Earth Sciences (ECC)

Each pair of students will design and construct a device to safely deliver an egg dropped from 34 feet. The physics of the drop will be discussed.  During lunch, all the devices will be entered in the Egg Drop Competition and dropped from the roof of the NS building.  Prizes will be awarded to successful designers.
Participants must be in 3rd grade or older.
Location: Physics (Phys) 109



Challenger Astronauts: (left to right, rear row) Ellison Onizuka, Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis and Judith Resnik. (left to right, front row) Michael Smith, Dick Scobee and Ronald McNair.

Onizuka Space Science Day is dedicated to the memory of the seven Challenger astronauts, who on January 28, 1986 lost their lives in pursuit of their dreams.

Their courage and ambition continue to inspire all.


Francis Scobee, Commander, Washington
Michael Smith, Co-Pilot, North Carolina
Ellison Onizuka, Mission Specialist, Hawaii
Ronald McNair, Mission Specialist, South Carolina
Judith Resnik, Mission Specialist, Ohio
Gregory Jarvis, Payload Specialist, New York
Christa McAuliffe, High School Teacher, New Hampshire


Dear Participant,

Welcome to the annual Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Lecture Series. Astronaut Onizuka had many dreams – one of which was to help inspire the youth of America to strive for and achieve their career goals. This lecture series was developed in his memory to realize this dream by creating a forum for young people to gather information and receive guidance in the various options available in science-related careers.

We are fortunate to have as our keynote speaker NASA Astronaut Michael Reed Barratt. In addition, the lecture series will feature many other prominent authorities who will present topics ranging from planetarium shows to a satellite demonstration.

We hope that this program will not only help you to learn more about the space frontiers, but also to help you to focus on your future endeavors here on Earth. Enjoy and learn.

The Board of Directors
Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee


Lecture Series Goals

  1. To increase our youth’s interest in space science and related fields.
  2. To foster awareness of educational and career opportunities in these fields.
  3. To carry on Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka’s passion for helping students by sharing his dreams, describing career opportunities, urging them to do their very best, emphasizing the importance of education in fulfilling goals and dreams, sharing the excitement of the U.S. space program, and inspiring them to appreciate the greatness of our country.


Keynote Speaker

Michael Reed Barratt, M.D.

NASA Astronaut

Official Astronaut Portrait of STS-133 crew member Mike Barratt. Photo Date: July 13, 2010. Photographer: Robert Markowitz.

Dr. Michael R. Barratt was selected by NASA in 2000.  Board-certified in Internal and Aerospace Medicine, he has participated in two spaceflights.  In 2009, Dr. Barratt served as Flight Engineer for Expedition 19/20.  During this time, he performed two spacewalks.  He also flew on STS-133, which delivered the Permanent Multipurpose Module and fourth Express Logistics Carrier.  Currently, Dr. Barratt serves in the Mission Support branches providing medical and human factors expertise to multiple spaceflight programs.

Personal Data:
Born on April 16, 1959 in Vancouver, Washington, he considers Camas, Washington, to be his hometown.  Dr. Barratt is married and has five children.  Personal and recreational interests include sailing, boat restoration, and nautical history, carpentry, writing, cooking good food in austere places, family and church activities.

Dr. Barratt obtained a B.S. in Zoology, from the University of Washington, and an MD from Northwestern University.  Completed a three-year residency in Internal Medicine at Northwestern University in 1988.  He completed his residency and Master’s program in Aerospace Medicine at Wright State University.

NASA Experience:
Dr. Barratt was assigned as a NASA Flight Surgeon in 1992, working in Space Shuttle Medical Operations.  In 1994, he was assigned to the joint U.S./Russian Shuttle-Mir Program, working and training extensively in the Cosmonaut Training Center, Star City, Russia.

From 1995 to 1998, he served as Medical Operations Lead for the International Space Station (ISS).  Dr. Barratt served as lead crew surgeon for the first expedition crew to ISS from July 1998 until he was selected as an astronaut.

Dr. Barratt has a particular interest in human adaptation to space flight and serves as Associate Editor for Space Medicine for the journal, Aerospace Medicine and Human Performance and is senior editor of the textbook, Principles of Clinical Medicine for Space Flight, now in 2nd edition. Dr. Barratt lectures extensively in space and extreme medicine.

Dr. Barratt was Manager of the Human Research Program at NASA Johnson Space Center.  This program guides applied research oriented toward mitigating health and performance risks associated with human spaceflight. Since that time Dr. Barratt has worked payload science for the International Space Station and has been extensively involved in medical and human factors applications for new space vehicles in the Commercial Crew and Artemis Programs as well as space medical risks and research efforts.

Spaceflight Experience:
Expedition 19/20 (March 26, 2009 to October 11, 2009).  Dr. Barratt launched as Flight Engineer on Soyuz TMA-14 to the station on March 26, 2009.  During this time, Dr. Barratt participated in the transition from three to six permanent station crew members, and oversaw two visiting space shuttles and the arrival of the first Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV).  Dr. Barratt performed two spacewalks in the Russian Orlan suit and participated in further station construction and onboard experiments.  Completing 199 days in space, he landed on October 11, 2009.

STS-133 (February 24 to March 9, 2011).  Dr. Barratt served as Mission Specialist on STS-133, the 39th and final mission for Space Shuttle Discovery.  He served as lead for Rendezvous and Station Robotics.  During the 13-day flight, the Discovery crew delivered the Permanent Multipurpose Module (PMM) to the station.  The mission’s two spacewalks completed a variety of tasks designed to upgrade station systems.  The mission was accomplished in 202 Earth orbits, traveling 5.3 million miles in 307 hours and 3 minutes.


Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka

Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka

June 24, 1946 – January 28, 1986

Your vision is not limited by what your eye can see, but by what your mind can imagine. Make your life count – and the world will be a better place because you tried. –Ellison S. Onizuka

Imagine a young boy on a small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, laying on his back, staring at a star-speckled sky, and dreaming. Dreaming of someday going higher than the birds, high enough to reach and touch those distant stars above.

Following this dream, Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka became the first Asian-American astronaut to fly in space and blazed a path that began on that small island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean to the heavens above the Earth.

Ellison was born on June 24, 1946, in Kona, Hawaii, a simple rural community. From these humble beginnings, Ellison formulated his dream of venturing into space.

Ellison excelled in school, graduating from Konawaena High School with honors in 1964. He was also active in the 4-H Club, student council, National Honor Society, yearbook, varsity basketball and baseball, and Boy Scouts.

After graduating from high school, Ellison attended the University of Colorado, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering in 1968, and a Master of Science degree in aerospace engineering in 1969. He joined the United States Air Force as a flight engineer in 1970, and attended the Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base in California.

Against stiff competition (8,000 applicants), Ellison was selected in 1978 as one of 35 astronauts for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program. He was the first Japanese-American selected to participate in America’s space program.

Ellison’s dreams came to fruition after years of training and hard work. On January 24, 1985, Ellison first entered space as part of the crew of the space shuttle Discovery – America’s first classified manned military space flight. The mission was a success, and Ellison was honored as the first Asian-American astronaut to venture into space.

Soon after, Ellison was selected for Challenger Flight 51-L along with six other crew members: Dick Scobee, Mike Smith, Ronald McNair, Judith Resnik, Greg Jarvis, and Christa McAuliffe. The crew of this mission was carefully chosen to reflect the spirit of America. All walks of life, backgrounds, and regions were represented on this shuttle flight, including elementary school teacher Christa McAuliffe, who would be the first civilian in space. On January 28, 1986, the space shuttle Challenger lifted from the earth. At 11:39 a.m., 73 seconds after liftoff, the orbiter tragically exploded, ending seven lives of ambitions, dreams, and courage.

Ellison’s story does not end here. In honor of Ellison’s memory, the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee was formed by a group of concerned citizens from the Southern California community. The committee initiated this program so that the following message from Astronaut Onizuka would be heard by future generations:

If I can impress upon you only one idea . . . Let it be that the people who make this world run, whose lives can be termed successful, whose names will go down in the history books, are not the cynics, the critics, or the armchair quarterbacks. 

They are the adventurists, the explorers, and doers of this world. When they see a wrong or problem, they do something about it. When they see a vacant place in our knowledge, they work to fill that void.

Rather than leaning back and criticizing how things are, they work to make things the way they should be. They are the aggressive, the self-starters, the innovative, and the imaginative of this world.

Every generation has the obligation to free men’s minds for a look at new worlds . . . to look out from a higher plateau than the last generation.

Your vision is not limited by what your eye can see, but by what your mind can imagine. Many things that you take for granted were considered unrealistic dreams by previous generations. If you accept these past accomplishments as commonplace then think of the new horizons that you can explore. From your vantage point, your education and imagination will carry you to places which we won’t believe possible. 

Make your life count – and the world will be a better place because you tried.–Ellison S. Onizuka, 1980



Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee Board of Directors

Dr. Tim Stowe–President

Dan Tani–Vice President

Dr. Jean Shankweiler, Treasurer

Dr. Kelsey Iino–Secretary

Dene Matsuzawa

Stephan Morikawa

Calvin Motoda

Allen Murakoshi

Lorna Onizuka

Valerie Takata

Ted Teshima

Douglas G. Tennant, Legal Advisor


The Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Memorial Committee gratefully acknowledges our donors and volunteers without whose participation this program would not be possible.


El Camino College Onizuka Space Science Day Planning Committee

Julieta Aramburo, Robin Dreizler, Dr. Amy Grant, Dr. Kelsey Iino


American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

El Camino College Foundation

NASA Johnson Space Center, Texas

Driscoll Strawberry Associates, Inc.


Dr. Brenda Thames, Superintendent/President El Camino College

Stephan M. Morikawa, Vice President Corporate Relations & Social Responsibility American Honda Motor Co., Inc.

Lorna Onizuka (wife of Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka)

Claude Onizuka (brother of Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka)


NASA Astronaut Dr. Michael R. Barratt

Session Contributors

Cheryl Abbani, Jwan Amin, Elizabeth Bermudez, Bryan Carey, Shaun Cook, Sara DiFiori, Mia Dobbs, Pete Doucette, Kay Ferrari, Catherine Fox, Victoria Fox, Julienne Gard, Jared Head, Chuck Herzig, Christopher Hirunthanakorn, Shimonee Kadakia, Ernie Kwok, Adam Majewski, Victoria Martinez, Merium Mubarak, Zeke Murdock, Jessica Ornelas, Sanda Oswald, Ann Pham, Shanna Potter, Julio Rodriguez, Laura Saldarriaga, Susan Stolovy, Jonathan Stroud, Michael Stupy, Judy Valle, Karla Villatoro, Paul Yun

El Camino College Science Students


Onizuka Memorial, Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, California


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