On Monday, May 19th, one of the most dynamic engineers in NASA made a rare appearance at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City, New York. In cooperation with the Companions in Courage Foundation (www.CiC16.org), a mid-day student session was webcast to the pediatric patients at North Shore LIJ’s Cohen Children’s Medical Center.

Patients watch live broadcast from Cradle of Aviation Museum

Kobie Boykins, a dynamic young engineer at NASA‘s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is on the front line of Mars exploration. Boykins designed the solar arrays that power the Mars exploration rovers, Spirit and Opportunity. Most recently, Boykins was responsible for the design of actuators on Curiosity, the Mars Science Laboratory, which safely landed on Mars on August 6, 2012.

“Kobie is a rock star at NASA,” said Andrew Parton, CEO of the museum. “We were thrilled to be able to bring him to the students of Long Island. It’s an extra bonus that we could share his presentation with some of the patients at Cohen Children’s.” More than 300 students from area high schools attended the presentation at the museum, and they were joined by about a dozen patients at the hospital via webcast.

Cohen Children’s Medical Center in New Hyde Park is the site of one of the interactive Lion’s Den Rooms created by Hall of Fame hockey player Pat LaFontaine. Billie and George Ross donated the room to the hospital one year ago. Jim Johnson, executive director of the foundation said, “The patients were completely focused on Mr. Boykins’ anecdotes and lessons about the creation of the Mars Rover and the exploration of space. Connecting these special patients to quality presenters like Mr. Boykins helps them stay connected to the outside world.”

Ann Marie DiFrancesca is the Child Life Director at Cohen Children’s. She said, “We are very grateful to the team at the Cradle of Aviation Museum who shared this presentation with our patients. Our patients were feverishly working on questions before the video chat even began. It was great to see the buzz that filled the Lion’s Den Room.”

The CiC Foundation plans to continue providing unique webcasts like this to the almost 20 pediatric children’s hospitals throughout North America on their Lion’s Den network.