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 more than 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, "pops" from the author's Apollo 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 4 to adult (content adjusted for younger audiences)
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.
Author Question & Answer
Chats are designed for students/teachers/audiences to ask questions about space topics covered in my books, stories, and articles. These chats are not presentations, but question and answer periods or participation in an in-person panel discussion with other speakers or a moderator at a conference or festival. Familiarization with the author's books enhances these discussions! (Hint: preorder copies of books and share with the group before the Q&A!)
How to Publish a Book
Dyson shares her experience publishing with traditional "big" publishers (Scholastic/NatGeo), educational library publishers (InfoBase), small houses (Rowman), and self published hard backs/paperbacks/eBooks via Ingram Spark and Amazon. What's the difference in terms of audience 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? How long does it take to publish a book?
Duration: 30-60 minutes as a Skype or Google HangOut visit.
Student or Teacher Workshops
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. 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 2-4 hours. (Minimum 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
Author Chats. I charge $150 for up to 60 minutes of virtual chatting or in-person panel discussion. Please contact me by email to discuss schedule options for international chats. Note, I offer discounts on chats for virtual events and fundraisers sponsored by nonprofit educational organizations of which I am a member.
Virtual Presentations: Price is $300 for 45-60 minutes and $200 for each contiguous hour after that ($500 for two-hour workshops), with 10 minutes after for Q&A. Please contact me by email to discuss schedule.In-Person Visits: A single one-hour presentation is $600 for the Houston area and $1200 for visits that require travel. Two presentations or one workshop are $800 for the Houston area and $1500 for visits that require travel. Two workshops or three to four presentations in one day cost $1200 for the Houston area and $2000 for travel. Presentations on additional days are charged at the local rate. Discounts are available for events sponsored by nonprofit educational organizations of which I am a member.
Travel to Houston & Surrounding Cities: No charge for travel within the city limits of Houston or within 20 miles of NASA JSC (includes Pasadena, League City, Friendswood, Pearland).
Travel Beyond Houston area: Send me your location, and I will provide an estimate of travel expenses. Expenses include airport parking, airfare, rental car or taxi to/from the hotel/venue, and hotel (that offers breakfast). If I'm scheduled to attend an event all day, lunch is expected. Autographed books desired for an event must be ordered at least a month in advance to allow shipping to the event location or to my hotel.
Note, I prefer to fly privately versus commercially. Because my husband is a pilot, we can fly directly to small town airports, weather permitting. Because the actual cost is difficult to determine and often higher for this option, if I fly privately, I only charge hosts travel expenses equivalent to whatever it would cost to fly commercially and rent a car to reach the destination otherwise.
Local Houston: I usually bring a few copies of my most recent books for sale. I can accept cash or credit cards for purchases, and I have a Texas sales tax permit.
Travel Visits: I only bring display copies on travel. If you want a personalized autographed copy, please use my Book Orders page to order books ahead of my visit and bring them to the event for signing. Here is a link that brings up all my books currently available via Amazon.
To Book an Appearance, Contact Marianne Dyson.
Coming soon! Interviewed by Astronaut Kay Hires for a new BBC series 13 Minutes to the Moon season three.
Guest on Big Picture Science podcast August 1, 2022, rebroadcast on NPR Science Friday. August 5, 2022.
On NSS Forum sharing Shuttle Mission Control Stories.
Feature article about me in my hometown newspaper, The Canton Repository.
I served on the National Assessment of Educational Progress panel for 4th grade writing in 2018.
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.
2023At International Space Development Conference in Dallas with Astronaut Eileen Collins.
2022At Rice University Reach for the Stars Festival with Dr. Pat Reiff and the amazing Umbe Cantu.
2021Talking about Shuttle Mission Control on the NSS Space Forum September 23.
2020Virtual speaking to University of Cincinnati class on STEM Education in a media age.
2019A student from Cathey Middle School gets an autographed copy of Welcome to the Moon. Photo taken October 2019 & used with permission.
Live long and prosper Mighty Librarians of McAllen High School: Norma Garza, Noe Torres, Josie Cornejo. Photo taken October 2019 & used with permission.
2018Addressing 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.