Marianne Dyson's Author Visits
Whether you're looking for a role model for female students, a scientist to run a STEM workshop, or a speaker with some unique stories, please consider an author visit. I offer programs appropriate for school-aged children up through senior citizens, as well as science workshops for students and teachers.
A Woman in NASA's Mission Control
Author Marianne Dyson shares her personal experience earning a degree in physics and becoming one of the first women to join the problem-solving team in Mission Control prior to and during the first Space Shuttle flights. How did a girl from Canton, Ohio became one of the first female flight controllers for NASA? What do flight controllers really DO? Historical anecdotes exemplify both the humorous and serious aspects of preparing for Space Shuttle flights, dealing with multiple system failures, fighting the "glass ceiling" at NASA, and juggling work and family.
Duration: one hour. Audience: grade 8 & up.
Author will provide a model of the space shuttle and historical artifacts for display.
Tour the Moon!
It's been 50 years since the first humans ventured to the Moon. Are you ready to take your own lunar tour? Presentation introduces adults and/or kids to the Apollo Program by taking them on a mock tourist trip to the Moon. Trip includes an orbit around the Moon to familiarize tourists with lunar geography and then covers the major reasons why people are heading to the Moon. Spacecraft models, demonstrations, and "pops" from the author's book, To the Moon and Back, help newcomers understand basic properties of the Moon and how its resources can be used to ensure humanity's long-term survival as well as for fun and profit.
Duration: one hour. Audience: grades K and up or family groups
Weather and schedule permitting, presentation can be followed by a 15-30 minute trip outdoors to observe the Moon and/or night sky (with the telling of a few tall tales). This option is a fun activity "after hours" at conventions.
How to Publish a Book
With book stores closing, and Amazon controlling 80 percent of book sales, what options do authors have to publish and sell their work? What's the difference between traditional, academic/educational, and self-publishing in terms of reach and profits? Do you need an agent? What are the terms of a typical contract, and how can you avoid being scammed? What are the upfront costs? What goes into the proposal? How long does it take to publish a book? What will you be expected to do in terms of marketing?
Duration: one hour. Audience: writers
Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) workshops reinforce concepts and practice math skills. Activities taken from my books were tested by either Scholastic or National Geographic consultants. Others were developed by me for use teaching astronomy to gifted kids in the Clear Creek Independent School District's WAVE program. Catholic schools: I have a Safeguarding God's Children certificate. Please see tab above "Resources> for Writers" for writing workshop options.
Space Science Workshop
This workshop follows the format of a simulated space flight with a launch, orbit and landing phase. During the course of the workshop, eight questions are answered via activities: 1) Why does everything float in space? 2) What does it feel like to go into space? 3) What's different about meals in space? 4) How do you weigh a weightless rat? 5) How does fire behave in space? 6) How do you pick things up in space? 7) How do you return from space? and 8) Why does it seem heavier things fall faster?
Duration is 3 hours with a short break in the middle. (Duration can be shortened a half hour by completing some activities at home using supplies/directions provided.) For student workshops, teacher must help supervise students. Max of two workshops/day with an hour break between workshops for reset and lunch.
Audience: Maximum 20 students in grades 4 to 8, or teachers of those grades.
Note, for local workshops, there is a $5/person supply fee. Host must provide water, copies of handouts, scissors, tape, and markers.
This workshop has participants compare living conditions on the Earth, the Moon, or on Mars in the future. It stresses scale modeling. Younger students can assemble models from parts precut or measured for them ahead of time while older students or adults can measure and make models using diameter, circumference, volume, distance/time, mass, and gravity data. Demonstration version takes about 2 hours, and Hands-On takes about 4 hours for adults, and longer for kids. This workshop can be followed by the Living Solar System for a full day of teacher inservice.
The workshop answers the following questions: 1) Where did the Apollo missions land? 2) How do the Earth, Moon, and Mars compare by diameter? 3) How far away is the Moon? 4) How far away is Mars? 5) Why is everything weightless in space? 6) How do the Earth, Moon, and Mars compare by volume and mass? 7) How much do things weigh on Earth, the Moon, and Mars? 8) How high/far can you jump on Earth, the Moon, and Mars? 9) Why are modules round in space? and 10) How might someone prove they were really on Mars?
Duration is 3 hours. (Duration can be shortened a half hour by completing some activities at home using supplies/directions provided.) For student workshops, at least one teacher or parent must be available to help supervise students. Max of two workshops/day with an hour break between workshops for reset and lunch.
Audience: Maximum 20 students in grades 4 to 8, or teachers of those grades.
Note for local workshops, there is a $10/person supply fee (because of PlayDoh!). Host must provide water, copies of handouts, scissors, tape, rulers, calculators, and markers.
Living Solar System Workshop
Participants create a solar system "May pole" with strings stretched from the sun at the center to cutouts of the planets (and major moons and dwarf worlds) to scale. They then walk the orbit of their assigned world and see for themselves how the worlds move relative to one another.
Duration: 1.5 to 3 hours. This workshop takes 90 minutes using author's premade parts, 2 hours for a class to make one solar system (each participant assigned a planet) and use it, or 3 hours for teachers to make a complete set to take home and practice using it. Activity requires a gym, hotel ballroom, or unobstructed sports field or parking lot with enough room for a 40-foot diameter solar system. Max of 3 workshops/day with 30 to 60-minute break between workshops.
Audience: Maximum 24 participants in grades 4 to 8, or teachers of those grades.
For teacher workshops, there's an additional supply fee of $5/person. Host must supply scissors, tape, and markers for each participant.
Honorarium & Travel Expenses
My fees are based on how much time I must commit to accomplish the visit. I live in southeast Houston near NASA Johnson Space Center. I do not accept engagements that require a start time earlier than 9 a.m. because of rush-hour traffic and set up time. If am required to be at the location for lunch or dinner, those meals should be provided. I'm happy to share meal times with staff or students, and some hosts have auctioned off the opportunity to sit at my table to help cover expenses. Hosts are offered a discount on autographed copies of all books preordered.Houston Area Visits: $400 for a single presentation 30 to 60 minutes for business or community conferences or after-school events that require no more than a 4-hour commitment including drive time. For multiple presentations or STEM workshops (see below) locally, cost is $600 (plus any workshop supply fees) for up to an 8-hour commitment. Discounts offered for repeat business or organizations I'm affiliated with.
Overnight Visits: $800 plus hotel and transportation expenses for venues that require travel the evening before, one or two presentations or workshops the next day, and return by that evening (i.e. 24-hour commitment). Note, a workshop can be scheduled in the morning and afternoon, but because of set up and supply issues, it must be the same workshop. Workshop supply fees are charged per person.
Long-Distance Visits: $1000/first day and $600 for each subsequent day plus hotel and transportation expenses for visits that require multiple hotel nights. Author can present up to four programs during one day or repeat one workshop twice. So, for example, I can fly in on a Monday night, address four groups of students on Tuesday, do two of the same workshop on Wednesday, and then fly out Thursday morning for $1600 plus travel expenses and workshop supply fees.
Skype/Google HangOuts: I am willing to do short video chats with students or organizations interested in interviewing me or discussing my published work. (Please do not ask me to talk with you about a book or story that you have not read!) I charge $60 for 30-45 minutes (not including up to 15 minutes ahead of time to get the connection established and tested) between 10 AM and 5 PM Central time M-F. Add $25 extra for weekends or earlier/later times.
I encourage all event hosts to order my books directly from my publishers (I will provide contact information) so that the host receives the largest discount and can keep the difference between order and sale price or pass along that (40 to 50 percent) discount to customers.
Another option is to use my Book Orders page and order books from Amazon to bring to the event for signing. I am also willing to bring books with me to the event for signing if they are prepaid via the use of my PayPal buttons. Note that some titles require up to 3 weeks to ship, so please check with me to see if I have sufficient copies on hand if order is close to the event date. For local events, I usually bring a few extra copies along for sale. I can accept cash or credit cards for purchases, and I have a Texas sales tax permit.
To Book an Appearance, Contact Marianne Dyson.
Featured in cartoon and article by Dale Debakcsy on WomenYouShouldKnow.net, 5-31-17.
Guest appearance on podcast The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston aired 11-14-16.
Radio interview, "From the Houston Spaceflight Center to Mars; the Journey of Marianne Dyson," aired 3-22-16 on MSONEWSSPORTS.com.
Feature article by Brian Albrecht appeared in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, on 1-31-16 & 2-1-16.
On Irish radio show Futureproof hosts Lara Dungan, Ian Brunswick, and I discussed The Martian.
I was on NPR "To the Point" 7-08-11 with Warren Olney to discuss the last Shuttle flight. Hear the entire show, in four parts: Me & Architect Thom Mayne, Mayne & Astronomer Jonathan McDowell, & Me & McDowell.
2018Speaking at Westview School in Houston, May 2018.
Addressing high school students at Laredo Public Library, May 2018.
Dyson with Bruce Foster, artist for To the Moon and Back, at Houston Public Library, 1-18-18.
2017Rice University Conference on Women in Physics.
2016Harvard Elementary Literacy Night, October 19.
2015Buzz Aldrin & I signed Welcome to Mars at Kennedy Space Center.
2014At Freeman Library with Cindy Price and Astronaut Jerry Ross
2013I sold my first copy of The Callahan Kids (left) at the Seabrook Library's Authors & Ice Cream event in July.
2012I was a featured author at the East Texas Book Festival in Tyler, Texas in September.
2011I toured the solar system with a capacity crowd at Freeman Memorial Library in Clear Lake in July.
Bay City librarian Andrea Savage poses with me and (L to R) DeAsia Abbott, Jynesis Battle, Taniya Abbott, Sami Simons, and Kati Simons after my "Tour the Solar System" presentation.
2009Harvard Elementary third graders compare the sizes of the planets in December.
Me and Great Day Houston host, Debra Duncan, on the set 6-10-09.
Me and former astronaut, Dr. Rhea Seddon, spoke at the annual Butterfly Luncheon in April.