NASA Astronaut Bob Hines Speaks with Milton Hershey School Students from Space
On Monday, Sept. 26, 2022, Milton Hershey School students spoke live with NASA astronaut Robert (Bob) Hines who shared career and life lessons from space.
Hines is currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS) on the SpaceX Crew-4 mission that launched on April 27. A central Pennsylvania native, Hines shared with students his special MHS connection.
“My grandfather taught [at Milton Hershey School] for so long,” shared Hines. “It was such a big part of my growing up. I was probably one of the only kids, I know, that during holidays and vacations visiting my grandparents I would go to school and go with him into his classroom.”
Hines’ grandfather, Roy Dice, started teaching at MHS in 1967 and was named an Honorary Alumnus in 2007. He was a science teacher until his retirement in 1991—teaching MHS President Pete Gurt ’85 as a sixth grader.
During the 25-minute conversation, MHS students across all divisions were able to ask Hines questions about his background, career path, astronaut training, and what it’s like to live in space.
Hines shared his passion to become a pilot, which led him to a career in the United States Air Force.
“I wanted to be a pilot for as long as I can remember. There are pictures of me when I was two years old looking at airplanes. I have an attitude for exploration—to do things that have never been done before.”
His advice to MHS students is the same: follow your passions and remain determined to make the impossible, possible.
“The classrooms you’re sitting in now and the things you’re learning; you’re learning how to learn. Sometimes, you feel the subjects or things you’re learning about don’t apply but learning how to learn is super important. Put your best effort into things and do your best—that prepares you for the opportunities that come later.”
When asked how to become an astronaut, Hines shared that the path isn’t a straight line. There are many scientists with diverse backgrounds and skills that get a chance to travel 250 miles above the Earth to the ISS.
“To be an astronaut, there is not just one path,” said Hines. “It’s about finding your passion and pursuing that. If you are doing what you’re passionate about, you’ll enjoy it and naturally want to get good at it. I studied aerospace engineering and was a pilot and test pilot before I became an astronaut.”
Brett Stark, MHS Associate Senior Director of Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment collaborated with NASA to make the event possible. It aligns the school’s commitment to career-focused education and career readiness.
“For me, today was about more than just getting exposure to careers, it’s getting life lessons about what it takes to be successful,” said Stark. “These are lessons that our students can take with them for a lifetime—lessons on teamwork, support systems, and working hard to overcome difficult tasks.”
It’s lessons that even Milton Hershey School teachers can learn and take with them into the classroom to reinforce with students.
“Bob Hines’ message to our students about finding something you’re passionate about is critical because that allows our kids to take their passions and move into many fields,” shared attendee Dennis Moore, an MHS high school biology teacher.
In closing, Hines expressed his appreciation for the mission of MHS and challenged students to follow their dreams.
“To the kids out there, don’t be afraid to dream big. Set big goals and go after them. Realize that you need help along the way. Look around; those are your teammates and crewmates on spaceship Earth as you go through life. Anywhere you want to go, it’s going to take a team to do it.”