Season three of Knights Do That, UCF’s official podcast, returns with its final episode with Gregg Buckingham ’02EdD, an associate lecturer in the School of Public Administration. Buckingham spent his professional career at NASA, working at both NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., and at the Kennedy Space Center before joining UCF.

Here Buckingham shares insight into his time working for NASA and how he makes an impact as an educator.

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Transcript

Gregg Buckingham: I remember talking to one guy who was a key Apollo person and I asked him something. Did they think they would succeed or why did they think they succeeded or something? And he said, “Well we were basically all young and we didn’t know we couldn’t do it, so we went out and did it.”

James Evans: Hello and welcome to a very special episode of Knights Do That. This is our final episode of season three. More importantly, this is the final episode of the podcast.

I’ll tell you all about it and what’s in store at the end of the show. For now, I’d like to turn your attention to our guest today. Dr. Gregg Buckingham is a professor who teaches public administration in the College of Community Innovation and Education.

Before joining UCF, Dr. Buckingham spent 28 years working for NASA, mostly at the Kennedy Space Center. His story and passion for mentoring the next generation of leaders will give you a new perspective on community.

Thanks for being here, Gregg. How are you?

Gregg Buckingham: Great. Great to be here.

James Evans: Fantastic. If you are fine with it, I think we’ll just jump into the questions.

Gregg Buckingham: Fire away.

James Evans: Sure. Awesome. So, the first thing I really want to cover, because I’m fascinated by it, is you are a first-generation student. You got involved with the Presidential Management Fellowship and then started working at NASA and specifically the Kennedy Space Center. And that’s a very like loose, broad timeline with much more nuance in between.

College, especially for first generation students, is all about discovery and growth. And this is where I want to start with you. What was your experience like going to the University of Florida being a first-generation student and what comes to mind when you reflect on that time of your life?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah. Gosh. My sister got a bachelor’s degree and while she was away at college we moved to Florida a thousand miles away. So, I didn’t really have her to pull on as a mentor. For those young people listening, there were no cell phones. There was no internet and so I really went off to college. I could still picture my parents taking me up there unloading my stuff in the dorm, having lunch and then giving me a hug and driving away. And this of course for me was the first time I had lived away from home and I really didn’t know. And my parents were both high school graduates but not that’s what first generation means.

So, I can really remember, “Wow. What is this going to be like?” It was very exciting. Also, sometimes very confusing. I was a financial aid student. I had a whole financial aid package of a loan and a grant and work study, and so I had to figure all that out. I had never managed my own checking account or savings account and now I was doing that. And (I) never had put together a budget. And so all these things that you’re doing on your own take learning and they take time. I did a whole bunch of activities, and my scholarship was not as good as it should have been. But I was learning a whole lot. So, it is a time, you use the word “discovery.” It is a time of discovery. It is also a time where you have to learn to manage a lot of things and it really wasn’t until my junior and senior year that I had a handle on the process.

James Evans: There are a couple things I want to hit there. I think one of the first ones that comes to mind is you said you were super involved you were doing a lot of different things not just personal growth and discovery but also just like with the university, right? So, with that is there anything that stands out to mind now that you’re like, “Man. That one thing or those two clubs or whatever changed my life, or they set me down a path that I don’t think I would’ve gone down otherwise?”

Gregg Buckingham: I don’t know if it changed my life, but it made my college years worthwhile. I joined a service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega, and we did a ton of service projects for the university and for the larger Gainesville community. And from that I, of course, developed a network of friends. I also developed a feeling a good feeling about community service and the things we did. As I look at my bachelor’s years that activity made those years worthwhile.

James Evans: What are you seeing or noticing as an educator that — besides the fact that these things now exist and we’re more interconnected in my generation — what are you noticing as far as the effects the human effects and the human impacts on how we’re changing education or how our educational situation is different than yours?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah, that’s a great question, too. I’m 66. The listeners can’t tell that but I’m 66 and I often am concerned about how does a 66-year-old relate to an 18, 19, 20-year-old in the classroom? I’ve done some reading about millennials and the iGeneration following them. And what I learned about the iGeneration in particular who are the main students that I have right now as a generation they spent more time at home less where their parents dropped them off at let’s say Waterford Lakes Mall or a mall.

James Evans: Yeah.

Gregg Buckingham: They had just as many friends but they communicated electronically. They communicated through the various social media functions. And so according to my reading they have a little less time actually out in the world if you will. And so they are going through much the same as I did even with the technology.

They are here on campus. They’re at the downtown dormitory. They are out on their own for the first time experiencing probably many of the same things I did except they have this electronic network which they might draw support from.

James Evans: Yeah, and I think that’s fascinating because I fall into that generation the iGeneration, Gen Z, whatever you’d like to call it.

I fall directly into that. And so not only do I relate to your story and your experience as a first generation student because the coming of age story doesn’t change too much when it comes to you have to start managing your budget or, if you have a vehicle, you have to think about, “I got to go get my oil changed,” and I’m the one doing that for the first time.

Or I’ve got to call the doctors and I don’t know my medical history so I got to call mom or dad or whoever and figure out, “Hey do you have that information so I can use it?” Et cetera. And even with you know more social media or more interconnectedness or the web you still have to figure that out.

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah.

James Evans: From personal experience you can only learn so much from a video or from a book. At the end of the day you do have to just experience some of these things to really get a good grasp for it I think.

Gregg Buckingham: And I think to add onto that the moral decisions we make the personal decisions we make have really not changed in 5,000 years? No. No matter if we’re talking about the printing press or the internet, I still have to decide am I going to drink and drive or am I going to do this or that? And so those personal decisions are much the same I think as I experienced in those before me.

James Evans: Yeah absolutely. On a fun note, on a kind of a side — I’m super curious, do you have any social media? Are you on TikTok? Because I know TikTok takes about two or three hours of my day it feels like at times.

Gregg Buckingham: Yes. I have a Twitter account.

James Evans: Love it.

Gregg Buckingham: I have an Instagram account. I have a Facebook account. I rarely post on anything but what I enjoy with Facebook and again I know the younger folks I listen to are not on Facebook.

James Evans: I’ve got it don’t worry.

Gregg Buckingham: But I connect with a lot of people and if a student connects with me on Facebook I want to accept that as a friend or make that connection because I’m only going to be teaching a few more years let’s say. But my relationship with that student may be much longer. And so, once I leave the university how can we keep in touch? And so social media is one way that I can do that and that I could hear about student successes.

James Evans: Yeah absolutely. And I think that’s so important especially having worked in education for as long as you have now and even just before being education focused seeing that gratitude or seeing those successes and being able to feel grateful and understand that you’ve had an impact what those impacts are and still seeing the fruit of your labor years afterwards.

I think that’s really important.

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah, UCF had an impact. For example, I teach strategic planning to graduate students and the core structure I’ve changed slightly but the value of that course to graduate students is immense. I have a student in the class this semester who immediately applied one segment of the strategic planning process to her current work and she sent me a note and said that they were trying to get a grant or a contract with the federal government and it really impressed people that she was able to develop the analysis that she did and so sometimes it’s me but more it’s the thoughtful way we’ve put together our curriculum to be meaningful when students are out there.

James Evans: I think it’s really interesting that you’ve hit the subject of strategic planning because I also want to ask you and I guess this isn’t entirely related but it is related to planning.

How did you handle career planning at that time? You know, deciding you were going to do or apply for the Presidential Management Fellowship and eventually starting to work in NASA that comes with the experience and knowing you want to work in these places or on these subjects but how did you handle planning of your personal life or did you kind of take it as it comes and fly by?

Gregg Buckingham: That too is a great question because as an undergraduate I handled it very poorly. I had no mentor. I really had no plan. So, when I graduated, I interviewed with a few places but none of them seemed very exciting, so I worked for a couple years in a bank.

And went back and got my masters. And when I got my masters, I was mature enough that I got to know my faculty and two faculty in particular. And they involved me in their projects. After a while it was very comfortable to talk to them and I actually had a job lined up in local government and my goal was to be a city manager I think it was going to pay about $14,000 a year.

And my faculty who really was a mentor, Dr. Kelso, said, “You should apply for the Presidential Management Fellowship program.” I really didn’t want to I had everything lined up. It was more work. But out of respect for him I applied, and they selected 200 people. Miraculously, I was one of those 200 people.

And then pretty much I interviewed with a bunch of people and NASA said, “Yes.” And so I was going to work at NASA. So, undergraduate, zero plan. Graduate, a better plan, a better focus. But what really made it was getting to know the faculty. And I want to say that has fed back into my teaching because in all my classes I begin the first lecture or the first meeting with talking about first generation students talking about transfer students.

And that if you need guidance please come and see me or we’ll get you to the right folks. But also our department offers a series of workshops outside of classes. The first one is “How to Succeed in the School of Public Administration.” Another one is on public speaking and teamwork which is so critical in the workplace.

And the third one is my favorite which is “How to Put Together Your Story.” “OK, I’m coming up on graduation but how do I put together my story to interview and make an impact in that interview?”

And I think those work. They have been useful to the students who participated.

James Evans: Absolutely. With storytelling I’ve kind of alluded to it a little bit, or stated a couple times now, you worked in the educational section of NASA also public administration public affairs. That route within the agency, that directorate. Can you give us a high-level summary of your time at NASA what you did and then we’ll start to pick it apart as we go through?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah. 28 years I did a lot of things so I’ve by now I’ve got it boil down pretty good. My first two years I was a Presidential Management intern. It was called then, it’s now called a fellow. And I basically set up to do rotations around the agency and even one outside the agency. So for the first couple years, I actually changed what I was doing about every three months.

I liked to get a lot of context and so that was great for me to have that opportunity. But I settled in the space shuttle program, and I spent several years working on the space shuttle logistics program which was very important at the time. I worked on it in my role at NASA headquarters and then I transferred to the Kennedy Space Center from being in Florida.

You know the shuttle was the first reusable vehicle and this meant that NASA had to set up a logistics program so that when the vehicle came back we had the parts. And the process is ready to repair parts so that we could get it ready to go and launch again. Well that whole infrastructure had to be set up and I worked with a great group of engineers and worked on a pretty significant project there to set up a repair depot in Cape Canaveral instead of sending our computers back to IBM and this antenna back to Hughes (Aircraft Company Radar Systems Group). What we did is we set up this repair depot in Cape Canaveral where all those parts would be repaired there. This was a smart move for the program. It saved a lot of money because companies move on. They want to do the next thing and the shuttle was a period piece although it was updated over the years.

From that, I realized being a non-engineer I wasn’t going to go much farther there so I took a risk and I got into our education programs. NASA at the time spent about $250 million a year on education trying to get more students to study STEM trying to help teachers teach STEM. Working with faculty and college interns. And so, I spent about 10 years doing that very important period of my career. And then I moved up and broadened out into more public affairs in general. Our office ran the visitor center for those who have been over to that. We worked on communication plans so that when we were making a big announcement everybody was on the same page. We had our education program. We handled all the guests at the Kennedy Space Center, so I gradually moved into external relations which was a great fit for me the whole time being a public administrator.

What is a public administrator is someone who carries out the mission of the agency is efficiently and as effectively as possible. Although I never pushed a button to launch anything, NASA’s very good at making you feel like you are part of the team and you know how you’re contributing to the big picture.

James Evans: I don’t know if this is accurate, and you’ll probably dispel the false information if I am wrong I’m currently reading a book called Moonshot they talk about this story and it’s pretty well known just in general anyway that JFK was doing a speech or something at NASA and he had gone up to a janitor and you know asked him, “What are you doing?” And the janitor had said, “I’m helping put a man on the moon.” And I think that sums up the culture of NASA very well from an outside perspective, I think.

Gregg Buckingham: Exactly.

James Evans: The point of good public administration is everybody no matter what they’re doing is contributing. And it matters. At the end of the day, you are making a difference for the future of humanity and for the future of your community depending on you know what type of government or what type of administration you’re working in.

Gregg Buckingham: Absolutely. NASA is roughly 2/3 engineers and scientists. One-third not. And if you think about any organization there’s a lot to do. There are the technical folks who are carrying out the mission and gosh there’s obviously great folks at NASA, but you also need great budget people who can handle budget changes; great procurement people who negotiate a contract and get a good deal, the best deal and the right deal for the government; public affairs people to communicate what’s happening. I left right at the end of the shuttle program but when SpaceX came in and other space organizations that are now at the Cape and launching NASA had to really think about how to budget some things how to contract some things because SpaceX was driving some of that activity or other organizations were but they were on our property and so we had to adjust contracts and be creative about how to get things done. So, of course, the technical part is critical but all the surrounding players help make things happen.

James Evans: What are your thoughts in general on the privatization of space?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah, I think it’s great. I think it’s shown. When I left NASA we had just stopped the space shuttle. We had no way to get humans to space.

We’ve seen a host of companies, Space Florida is doing a great job at building the space community. Blue Origin is over at the Cape with a large facility and there are several others. Boeing of course is there. And so I think that competition is good and I think that we are competing against the world so involving as many people as we can — as many creative people as we can —will keep us at the forefront of what we’re doing.

James Evans: Yeah of course. I think that’s super important as we continue to move forward. I know a large conversation is the Artemis [program] and now the conversations around getting back to the moon with that [program] and then eventually hopefully getting to Mars in my lifetime. It’s something great.

Gregg Buckingham: NASA, I think, contracts about 80% of its funds. So over our long history, Rockwell, Boeing, Lockheed, the industry has always been involved. What has changed is our contracting method to allow people greater freedom to create what they see as the best way to do things. And we have this set of entrepreneurs who have built enough money to start companies to actually do it themselves there’s a place I think for everybody and so it’s going to be exciting.

All those companies. By the way, maybe my pride is showing, but if the federal government hadn’t spent 50 years investing in the technology and breaking the ground, those companies would’ve been starting from a place further back. That government investment is actually now paying off in many ways.

James Evans: You’re very right. And that’s an important thing about public administration. And it’s fascinating because it’s been such a push for so long and it’s so intertwined with our story, with Florida history.

Gregg Buckingham: I left in 2012, I think. I was able to go back and get a doctorate while I was at NASA.

James Evans: You’re now a part of our faculty here at UCF and you’ve been here for several years at this point. Can you give us insight into why UCF and what do you do now specifically for our faculty?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah, great. Well UCF I knew quite well. My wife and two sons, we all have a degree from UCF all four. There we go all four of us. My one son has two degrees from UCF. My other son is working on his second degree. So we’re Knights. But I got to know UCF quite well from NASA days because in running some of our programs like we had a summer faculty program.

Well many of the faculty who came from UCF and worked at Kennedy for the summer and I got to know those faculty. We have many have had and have many grants with UCF and so some of those I was involved in. And so I got to know UCF quite well particularly the engineering school. When I retired from NASA, I knew I wanted to work part time, and teaching was one of the things that I had in mind.

And so, I adjuncted for a while and a full-time position came open and UCF was kind enough to hire me. So now I teach in the School of Public Administration, which is related to my master’s and of course to my entire career. And I teach two undergraduate, two graduates. So, I have a nice mix.

I teach Intro to Public Administration, which is my favorite course to teach because students are dipping their toe in the water. I think I have a lot to offer in that class because I can talk a lot about my experiences and government experiences. I bring in speakers who are experts in the local and state level.

So they hear about local government, state government, federal and I think mostly very excited about the range of things they can do which is kind of what we’ve talked about in my career. And then I teach two graduate courses: Public Policy and Strategic Planning. Those students are some right out of undergraduate and some are professionals working in the field and looking to advance their career.

I really enjoy working with students. I require an office visit for my undergraduate students so they get to get to know me. That stems from my bachelor’s days when I didn’t do that. And so I’m trying to help every student put together the best career plan they can as well as being good academically.

James Evans: That’s fantastic. I’ve had a few professors do the same thing where they require office visits and that can have such an impact, whether you’re first generation or not. Just being able to have that interaction and meet somebody who’s been in academia who knows what’s going on can show you the ropes but also is going to have a very interesting story to tell. That’s super important for a student to build connections and build an understanding of this place as they’re starting to figure their own life out.

Gregg Buckingham: Yep. I’m not shy about talking about my undergraduate days so that they know. You know sometimes when people see a faculty or any leader up front, they think, “Well that person must have always been on the ball and always had a plan.” And so, I’m not shy about talking about my own trials and tribulations and how I got out of those and then hopefully I help other people do that.

James Evans: Yeah. Of course. And what is empowering students look like you for the day to day? I know it’s a lot of teaching and education I’m sure there are lots of student meetings. But what is that holistic view look like for you?

Gregg Buckingham: I’m trying to get students, first of all, to have some very tangible tools. The strategic planning example I gave is a good one. They can immediately use that. There’s some policy things I do with students where they can analyze a policy issue. So, first off I’m trying to get them to be academically and scholarship wise very good. And it’s a joy to me when the light bulb goes on. I know that’s cliche to say but the second thing is I’m trying to get them to help make sure they have perspective so that you know people changing their major. That seems to be very traumatic for students.

James Evans: Yes. It’s the big taboo.

Gregg Buckingham: Yes. Maybe their parents want them to do one thing or maybe they thought they did and now they’re realizing that’s not really that is the purpose of college. Experiment and kind of focus and narrow down what you might want to do.

And so, they worry about these things. They worry about doing an internship or they worry about changing majors or what should be their minor. And I’m trying to give them perspective that in 40 years that is probably not going to matter as much as some other things. Let’s talk about those things and so maybe try and ease some of their stress a little bit.

James Evans: I’m really curious with specifically student research. I’ve seen that you sponsor some student research. What is that experience like? Working with students directly in those ways?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah. That’s great. I was late today as you know because I have a student. I’m on a thesis committee with a bright student who did her thesis defense today and so she’s put together a whole not just the research proposal, but gathered the data, analyzed the data and it’s so amazing and I’ve done that with several students. I’ve been on a thesis committee, but I’ve worked with other students on other projects. The passion that they have. The interest that they have. It really… I don’t have any concerns about the future because I know they’re going to go out there and make an impact

James Evans: What’s the most rewarding part about all of this for you? Is it you know your experience and the impacts you’ve already made seeing that your students provide their impacts or is it something else entirely?

Gregg Buckingham: What’s rewarding to me is what better thing could I be doing at this age than trying to help young people forge their path? That’s really the rewarding aspect.

James Evans: Yeah absolutely. So we’re toward the end of the episode. We’ve got some wrap up questions. Do you have any fun facts about the Kennedy Space Center or you know its ties to UCF, et cetera?

Gregg Buckingham: Oh gosh. Yes. “And other duties as assigned.” My manager came to me and said, “Could I put you down as our history contact?” And I said, “Sure.” What that meant is at the time we were doing a bunch of oral histories with Apollo people and other leaders of Kennedy’s Space Center and mostly we had a historian doing that, but I got some training from him and several of us did and we did some interviews. And so, I interviewed a couple of Apollo guys and really was fascinated by talking to them.

I remember talking to one guy who was a key Apollo person and I asked him something. Did they think they would succeed or why did they think they succeeded or something? And he said, “Well we were basically all young and we didn’t know we couldn’t do it, so we went out and did it.”

James Evans: Yeah.

Gregg Buckingham: And I worked for a historian who did an institutional history of Kennedy Space Center, Ken Lipartito. Had many discussions with him because he was interviewing a lot of people and looking at a lot of documents. And so I just learned so much about the culture of NASA and doing that. I’ve had a chance to do some fun things.

I don’t know if people know but below the launch pad, where the Apollo rockets took off there is what’s called the rubber room. And that was set up so that if something bad was going to happen the astronauts could get out of Apollo, get out of the spaceship and essentially slide down this slide and go into this vault basically underneath the rocket. They could seal it, and they had enough supplies in there to last a little while if they needed to stay in there. But it was called the rubber room because it was all padded. Because when you came down this slide you really ejected into the room. The slide no longer exists but I got to go down into the rubber room and I got to see what that was like. And I walked around the underside of the pad. So, when you do that kind of tangible thing. It’s really amazing. What was accomplished. I’ve met the three Apollo 11 astronauts. I was fortunate enough John Glenn came twice to the Kennedy Space Center toward the end of my career and spent the day there.

And I was one of the folks who was sort of around him all day. And so I just spent the good part of a day observing him and how he behaved. So, I had lots of those experiences. I was very fortunate in that regard. And so yeah I’ve had a lot of those experiences. I don’t really have any great facts at my fingertips. But I had a lot of very great experiences with the people of NASA.

James Evans: I had no idea that they had the rubber room or a fun little slide for the astronauts. Obviously not fun in the moment if you need to use it but the fact that exist and the rubber room existed. I mean it makes sense now talking about it, but I had no clue. I’m sure… I’m hoping that there are several listeners who also did not know about it and are as surprised as I am.

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah. The space shuttle had a different system. It had a slide bucket that you got in and went slid down a wire.

James Evans: Yes.

Gregg Buckingham: And so, it was a different system. The SLS (Space Launch System) has its own escape system so it’s the astronauts can get off via that.

James Evans: It’s so funny that you mentioned that because the only reason that I know that the shuttle program had the slide bucket instead is from Men in Black III where they’re time traveling and they end up at the Kennedy Space Center. It’s a part of one of those rocket launches where they’re using the slide bucket thing and they ended up using it for the purposes of the movie and the plot. So I’m probably a bad Floridian for learning through it that way. But the fact that was included in that you mentioned that now as I think fun and a little fascinating.

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah. And it’s also fun rewarding to see here at UCF so many NASA people there are other faculty here.

James Evans: Yeah.

Gregg Buckingham: There are people who have gone from here to NASA and so it’s a very good relationship between the two institutions.

James Evans: Is there any sort of NASA faculty club that happens where y’all get together like once a year and you know talk about the good old times at NASA like you know anything like that? Or have a recognition for being our faculty that used to work there or —

Gregg Buckingham: There’s not. I have had lunch especially right when I started at NASA with several of the engineering faculty that I knew from my NASA days. And I had dinner actually on Friday with a UCF professor, (an) astrophysicist who I had known during my whole career. He didn’t work for NASA but he had NASA grants or contracts and his worked on astrophysics with NASA. So, I do see folks. I do talk to folks. I’m downtown now so I’m not on the main campus quite as much. But I’m always happy. They’re always in the news. They’re always in the daily thing that comes out. Quite frequently there’s a NASA-related person or activity in there and I recognize the people.

James Evans: That’s great. And my second question along that line is you talked about how UCF and NASA have been so intertwined. Our history is built out of being Space U. So, what are your thoughts on and your insights into how entangled UCF and NASA are together and what that means for UCF and for this community?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah. Well, there’s several. I don’t know the contractor grant situation, but the Florida Space Grant, which is a consortium of Florida universities is here, that’s a NASA-sponsored, congressionally sponsored activity. And so that’s here on site. The Florida Space Institute is here. So there’s a lot of things smaller institutions that are here that represent a relationship between UCF and NASA and continue on.

James Evans: What advice would you give to somebody who wants to be an educator and/or work at NASA?

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah well while you’re in college I would the answer to both of those is the get to know your faculty. When you get to know a faculty you are plugging into their network and their activity and therefore that broadens your network and activity.

So please get a mentor while you’re here whoever that is. If you want to work in public administration, I think that you will have a very satisfying career at the end of your life. Whatever level you’re working at — local, state or federal —  you will know that you contributed to the community and to the larger country or state. And that is a very rewarding feeling. That’s why I went into public service. If you’re going into education, I think what helped me, and by the way getting the doctorate for me was a critical event in my life and the UCF faculty I had were outstanding. They challenged me. But if you want to go education, I think you need to reflect on how people learn and how do you get from A to B and bring that to whatever you do in education because that’s the fundamental question is how do I get student A from A to B? How do I get student B from A to B? Because everybody is starting from a different place.

James Evans: What’s one thing you’re still hoping to do?

Gregg Buckingham: I’m still hoping to be faculty of the game at a UCF Knights game.

James Evans: I understand why. Absolutely. And hopefully it’d be the space game, right?

Gregg Buckingham: Oh, that’d be even better!

James Evans: Yeah. Of course. That’s awesome.

Gregg Buckingham: Yeah I think personally I really I don’t know how long I’ll teach yet but I really want to I keep having fun with students I want to focus on students. And again, when I retire from that I know that I will have made a difference.

James Evans: What would you do when you retire?

Gregg Buckingham: That’s a very deep question. When I retired from NASA I wanted to relax and I wanted to volunteer and I wanted to travel.

As I think about it now, for some reason the arts seem very important to me now.

James Evans: Mm-hmm.

Gregg Buckingham: I’m thinking about in what way I can participate in the arts not as a volunteer but as a true participant. And I don’t know what that is. I don’t have a lot of talents in that area at this stage. I noticed that as becoming very important to me.

James Evans: Good. I think it’s important to always be looking for the next thing to grow your skillset, grow your mind, grow your abilities. I think that’s important. Awesome. Well thanks for being on the show today. You did fantastic. Really it was such a pleasure.

Gregg Buckingham: Thank you. I’m happy to talk about UCF. I’m obviously happy to talk about NASA. They’re both outstanding organizations.

James Evans: I want to thank Dr. Buckingham for being on the show today. Many college students including myself worry if we’re on the right path. Knowing that we have more time than we think, and that faculty can be such a resource is a great thing to know.

No matter where you are in your education, find mentors. They’ll teach you lessons you never thought you needed. Thank you again Dr. Buckingham.

Here we are at the end of the season and the show. So… what’s next? UCF will be returning with podcasting in the future. We’re working to share the UCF stories that highlight this university’s commitment to unleashing potential. We want to thank you for being such dedicated listeners and to be on the lookout for what’s in store in the future. As always, if you’re doing something cool, whether that’s at UCF or somewhere you took UCF that we should know about send us an email [email protected].

Go Knights, Charge On!

James Evans: Hi y’all. I just wanted to say thank you real quick. This is James, your host. I have been here for a season now and I couldn’t be more thankful to be doing this.

I’ve learned so much in this process. These amazing people I’ve met along the way, and the many more that have already been on the show, are making the world better. I did want to take a moment to share some of the biggest lessons I’ve gotten out of this experience and what I’m looking forward to.

Exercise your curiosity.

What are you learning today? What are you learning from the person across? being a lifelong learner is about exercising your curiosity.

Feed your creativity.

It’s difficult to be creative so get inspired get passionate about something and build something great.

Have gratitude.

It makes your life better. It makes you happier. You live a little bit longer you learn a little bit more and you see the world just a little bit differently. I am so grateful that I have gotten to speak to the people that I have that I get to do the work I do.

Thank you for being such dedicated listeners.