Charles NicholsSpeaking to a crowd of soon-to-be middle school students, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) engineer Charles Nichols emphasized the importance of perseverance and provided insight into career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math during his keynote speech at the East Picacho Elementary School (EPES) fifth-grade graduation, Thursday, May 25 in the EPES cafeteria.

“It was a great event. The students seemed to really enjoy all of the speeches,” said EPES Principal Nubia Tarazona. “I’d like to thank Teri Hamilton—the parent of an East Picacho student— for all the time and effort she put in to help organize this wonderful event.”

The keynote speech was followed by speeches from East Picacho staff members who reminisced about memories of the graduating students and shared words of encouragement. Following the speeches, the graduating students received a commemorative certificate of accomplishment and got the chance to speak with Nichols at a brief reception.

Nichols is the NASA inspection capability leader and facility manager for the Metallurgical and Nondestructive Evaluation Laboratory at White Sands Test Facility. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering from New Mexico State University.

For more information, contact LCPS Communications Coordinator Paul Dahlgren,, (575) 527-5808.