JANESVILLE—Saying that Naleah Boys’ goals are out of this world is an understatement.
Boys, a Janesville resident and junior at the virtual Wisconsin Connections Academy, has combined her passions for outer space and reading into one bound project: her first book, titled “The Concise History of NASA Manned Missions.”
It’s one step toward her dream of becoming an aerospace engineer for NASA.
“I have a science library with over 150 books because I love reading and all of that, but there was never really a book that had all of the information I wanted about all of the NASA manned missions,” Boys said.
Her father, Neal Boys, teaches earth and space science at Parker High School. He suggested that his daughter do the research herself and create a comprehensive PowerPoint presentation.
After seeing her finished product, Neal wanted a copy for his classroom. That’s when the family brainstormed the idea for Naleah to convert the PowerPoint into a book.
She got the book done over the span of a summer.
“It really just came about through my passion of space,” Naleah said, “because it made me realize that this may be something that others want to read about, and so it made me want to put together my passion for reading and my passion for space into writing a book.”
“The Concise History of NASA Manned Missions” covers the Mercury, Apollo and Gemini missions and explains who was involved, when they took place, what happened, how long each mission lasted and the shuttles that were used. The book also touches on major events that occurred during each mission.
The 200-page book contains about 100 pages of information. It has doubles of each page, so teachers and others can cut them out and laminate them for classroom use.
Naleah has been fascinated by the night sky since she was young, and her relationship with her father furthered that interest.
“I’ve always had a passion for space,” she said. “Ever since I was really young, I’ve always said I wanted to build rockets someday.
“I’m really trying to get my foot in the door because one day I want to be an aerospace engineer and work for NASA in mission control. My ultimate goal is to be in that room when the first human steps foot on Mars.”
The book is just part of her career journey. Naleah and her father currently participate in the NASA/IPAC Teacher Archive Research Program, which pairs teachers and students with an astronomer to do real astronomical research.
The two are helping to map the sizes of black holes by measuring light curves within them.
Their shared interest has created a special bond between them.
“He has always loved space,” Naleah said. “All of my family has. The extra exposure to space, it kind of solidified my love for that area, and just going into the night sky and building model rockets growing up made me see that this truly is something that I want to do for the rest of my life.”