Open doors

A NASA technologist taught CFHS students valuable lessons about engineering and life over a zoom call.


Makayla Bowen

John Carr, an engineer for NASA, spoke to CFHS students on pursuing careers that they are passionate about.

Dr. John Carr, the Deputy Center Chief Technologist for NASA, took a virtual visit to speak to the student body of Cannon Falls High School. With him, he brought a powerfully motivating message for the aspiring engineers among us.

Brought up in Ames, Iowa, Dr. Carr connected with the midwestern students of Cannon Falls on an especially personal level. After attending his State University for a degree in Electrical Engineering, he went on to obtain a Masters and Phd. Upon completing his impressive education, Dr. Carr moved forwards into the working world, relying on an important piece of advice he shared with the students: “Doors will open, go through them.” Saying “yes” to the opportunities presented to him in the following years, Dr. Carr was taken through an assembly of rewarding and memorable life experiences, landing him today in his extraordinary position at NASA. With his to-date life story, Dr. Carr showed students that dreams are just as achievable from a birthplace in the rural Midwest as they are from any other.

Doors will open, go through them.”

— Dr. John Carr

Through his engineering experience, Dr. Carr picked up a variety of valuable lessons that he passed on to the upcoming generation. His first pointer was to choose a career path that you personally enjoy. Rather than slaving away every week at a task you disdain, choose to work at a job you love, and as Dr. Carr states, “Work will take on a different meaning.” His next piece of advice was directed at engineers, stating that engineers are problem solvers, no matter where that may be. Dr. Carr advises that the workforce of engineers should not forcibly limit themselves to any single discipline of the field, rather, they should apply their creative problem-solving mindset to all situations they encounter. For students just about college-bound, the advice from an experienced engineer like Dr. Carr provided valuable insight.

Dr. Carr’s powerful presentation did not fall on deaf ears. One student, Teagan Strecker, spoke about the personal impact of the conference on her. With a plan of attending university and heading into the world-wide field of STEM, Strecker said Dr. Carr “gave very good information for future internships.” All of Cannon Falls’s aspiring engineers, each with a cautious yet thrilling apprehension about their future benefited from the council of Dr. John Carr.

With a story about a successful engineer hailing from rural Iowa, Dr. Carr’s autobiography and advice connected directly with the scientifically ambitious minds of CFHS. Each student’s path towards their dreams is landmarked by the efforts of Dr. John Carr, offering himself as a lesson to the next generation of engineers.