Baldwin Wallace Brothers Get to Know One Another During Spring Break at Space Center University

Some people hit up the beach for Spring Break. Others hit up NASA.

Brothers Clay Kelley and Lucas Shalkhauser of the Kappa-Phi chapter at Baldwin Wallace spent their Spring Break at Space Center University in Houston, Texas, learning from some of NASA’s finest.

Space Center U is a challenging five-day educational program that gives K-12 and college students alike a behind-the-scenes look at NASA through various team-building exercises and lectures.

From rocket and rover building, to coding and robotics, they tried their hands at a little bit of everything.

“We did a bunch of team-building activities under pressure,” Kelley said. “The whole point is to find ways to come up with compromises.”

The chemistry major certainly gained a lot from the experience, he said.

“Honestly, taking initiative after just five days there seems a lot easier at this point.” Kelley said. “It’s one of the best experiences I’ve had since coming to college.”

Kelley didn’t even know Shalkhauser, a freshman associate member, when he learned they would be going on the trip together. But they used that time to get to know one another.

“The interesting thing is, when I signed up for this program, I wasn’t even a member yet so I really didn’t know (Kelley),” Shalkhauser said. “But I was able to bond with him on the trip which was great.”

The program threw challenge after challenge at the guys.

“It definitely helped me with my problem-solving skills,” Shalkhauser said.

“It’s also a great way to make a ton of friends and learn a lot of communication skills,” the software engineering major continued. “You’re working with people from a lot of other majors. It’s just a different kind of experience.”

It was an experience he knew he had to jump at.

“An email went out to all STEM majors about the trip, and I knew immediately it was something I had to sign up for,” Shalkhauser said. “I’ve always been a massive fan of NASA and space exploration, but I didn’t think there would ever be a program like this for me. It’s usually for the younger kids.”

Being in Lambda Chi means a lot to both men, who brought the skills they learned at Space Center U back to their chapter at Baldwin Wallace.

For someone who had no plans of ever joining a fraternity, Shalkhauser is off to a good start.

“My first semester, I was constantly hanging out with the people in the fraternity, and they had asked me if I wanted to join,” he said. “But I had this stereotypical idea of what a fraternity was so I wasn’t interested. Then over winter break, I really thought hard about it and realized all of these amazing people I’m spending my time with are in the fraternity. So I thought, ‘What am I doing? I need to join.'”

The rest is history in the making.

“I get to have all of these brothers who I can help and they can help me,” he said. “I have learned so much about myself.”

For Kelley, being in Lambda Chi means having a sense of security.

“A very big part of it is security, I think — providing security for my brothers and getting security back,” Kelley said.

Neither one of them are heading to outer space anytime soon. But you never know … it wouldn’t be the first time a brother set foot on the moon.

Click here for more information about Space Center U, a program that’s offered year-round. 

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