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From The NFL To NASA

book cover for 'chasing space.' leland melvin poses for an official portrait in astronaut's gear, but with two big dogs licking his face.
Harper Collins

Leland Melvin’s path to a career at NASA is unconventional to say the least. As a teenager he got a scholarship to play football at the University of Richmond and later signed as a wide receiver to the Detroit Lions. He never played during the regular season  due to an injury, but he did not lose energy to pursue his passions.

Once he became interested in being an astronaut, he was told he would never make it to space because of a freak accident that left him temporarily deaf. But he was undeterred. Now retired, Melvin has penned a memoir that takes him from the football field into space. In “Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace and Second Chances” (Amistad/2017) he writes not only of his grit, but the perseverance he witnessed from those around him.

Melvin joins host Frank Stasio to discuss his book, his passion for teaching STEM and STEAM and his hopes to inspire the next generation of African-American astronauts. Melvin was invited to the Triangle by the Circle of Hope Foundation and is scheduled for several signings, including a public meet and greet at the Women’s Club of Raleigh Wednesday, April 11 from 2 p.m to 3:40 p.m. Melvin is at Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh Wednesday, April 11 at 7 p.m. for a book signing. He will be at NC State's Witherspoon Student Center on Thursday at 6 p.m. 

Note: This program originally aired April 11, 2018.

Longtime NPR correspondent Frank Stasio was named permanent host of The State of Things in June 2006. A native of Buffalo, Frank has been in radio since the age of 19. He began his public radio career at WOI in Ames, Iowa, where he was a magazine show anchor and the station's News Director.
Dana is an award-winning producer who began as a personality at Rock 92. Once she started creating content for morning shows, she developed a love for producing. Dana has written and produced for local and syndicated commercial radio for over a decade. WUNC is her debut into public radio and she’s excited to tell deeper, richer stories.
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