NASA/JPL Engineer Tom Nolan kicks Off YWCA Pasadena’s “Hands on with an Expert” Series

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12:10 pm | October 9, 2019

On Tuesday, October 1st, the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley began its “Hands on with an Expert Series” with Tom Nolan, Instrument and Operations Engineer for NASA/JPL. Nolan gave the girls in the YWCA’s Girls Empowerment After- School Program an inside look at the Artemis Mission, NASA’s first all-female mission to the moon and fielded questions about climate change, space exploration, and his career.

He finished the workshop by leading the girls in a competition to create a paper structure out of one piece of paper that held the most weight. The girls had a great time figuring out what structures would work best and stacking the books high on their finished designs.

“I had a delightful time this afternoon [...] I loved encouraging them to do mighty things and to always keep trying to do the hard thing,” said Nolan.

“Hands on with an Expert” is a part of the organization’s Girls’ Empowerment After-School Program and will allow girls to engage in hands-on activities with professionals in a variety of fields spanning science, technology, engineering, art, and math. The series will continue with several dates already scheduled throughout the fall.

On October 10th, OB/GYN and “the Doctors” co-host Dr. Lisa Masterson will be talking to the girls about women’s reproductive health and playing Period Bingo with prizes for the winners.

On October 17th, Make-Up Artist Lisa Marie Prather and Actress Anel Lopez Gorham will guest facilitate. Prather and Gorham will be talking about their careers, doing a hands-on make-up tutorial with the girls, and helping them design their own make-up looks for Halloween.

On October 24th, Keri Bean, a Mars Rover driver and droid building enthusiast will be speaking about her career path and her hobby building Star Wars droids for fun.

Singer and Activist Maya Jupiter will be holding a hip-hop songwriting workshop on November 14th. The girls will have the opportunity to explore the songwriting process and how art can be activism.

The YWCA’s Girls’ Empowerment After-School Program is a multidisciplinary program for girls ages 10-17. Registration is open from October-May. The program is geared toward laying a foundation for participants to become confident and successful women. Activities include biology, painting, coding, and textiles to learn to express themselves and cultivate a love for the STEAM disciplines. Workshops on identity, anti-bullying, body positivity, social justice, activism, philanthropy, and leadership are also seeded throughout the program. You can find more information on the program at the YWCA Pasadena-Foothill Valley’s Website at or by emailing Program Manager Jomie Liu at