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Saturday’s Maine Innovation Expo to feature leader on international space collaboration

ELHS graduate Ken Hodgkins is the director of the U.S. Office of Space and Advanced Technology.

Edward Little High School graduate Ken Hodgkins, director of the Office of Space and Advanced Technology in the U. S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans, Environment, and Science, will be a featured speaker at the Maine Innovation Expo, taking place Saturday, May 19, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Museum L-A. Admission to the expo is free and open to all; tickets can be reserved in advance at www.museumla.org. 

Among Lewiston and Auburn’s many professional success stories, Ken Hodgkins’ journey from sheep farming in Auburn to serving as the director of the Office of Space and Advanced Technology stands out. He also serves as the U.S. Representative to the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space and is a member elect of the International Academy of Astronautics and the International Institute of Space Law.

After graduating from ELHS, Hodgkins didn’t have a clear idea of what he wanted to do with his life. He was used to hard work, but decided farming wasn’t for him, so he packed up and went to the University of Maine at Orono. After graduating, he joined the federal government in 1980 as a Presidential Management Fellow. He began his work on space through diplomacy, not science.  

During his presentation, Hodgkins will share the story of how he ended up where he is today. A down-to earth, honest speaker who connects with people of all ages, he looks forward to talking with students who are spending their days in the same classrooms he sat in as a student at ELHS. He will also speak about the latest efforts in international space collaboration, including the Global Positioning Satellite (GPS) system, orbital debris, and the use of nuclear power sources in space. 

Hodgkins will meet and greet visitors at the Bates Mill throughout the day. This year’s Maine Innovation Expo will have a full space section, including an award-winning student-created documentary and exhibit from Maine’s 2018 National History Day state competition. 

To further celebrate the legacy of Mainers on space, the Margaret Chase Smith Library will be on hand to share the story of U. S. Senator Margaret Chase Smith, who, in addition to being the first woman to be elected to both houses of Congress, served on the Senate Space and Aeronautic Science Committee, which funded the Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs that eventually put man on the moon. The library will offer a rocket building station and let people design their own space mission patches. 

If you would like to meet Ken Hodgkins, in addition to entertainers and over fifty exhibitors featuring hands-on games and activities, join Museum L-A for a jam-packed day celebrating the businesses, students, artists, and entrepreneurs doing innovative work across the state.

Museum L-A is located in the Bates Mill Complex at 35 Canal Street in Lewiston. For more information, call 333-3881 or email info@museumla.org.

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