DePaul University Newsline > Sections > DeBuzz > My Brilliant Pen Pal: Event-by-mail from the DePaul Humanities Center
By DePaul Humanities Center /
May 3, 2021 /
Posted in: DEBUZZ /
This season's pen pals are Nikki Giovanni and Jennifer Trosper. Giovanni is a poet and National Book Award finalist. Trosper is an aerospace engineer, NASA scientist and Mars Perseverance Mission manager. The deadline to register for the program is Friday, May 7. Giovanni is an essayist and University Distinguished Professor at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Among the collections she has published are three “New York Times" and “Los Angeles Times" best sellers, a rare distinction among poets. Giovanni has practiced an explicitly Black poetics throughout her career and was involved with the Black Arts Movement from its inception. She has been involved in activism throughout her career. A seven-time recipient of the NAACP Image Award and the first recipient of The Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, Giovanni was named one of “25 Living Legends" by Oprah Winfrey.
Trosper grew up in rural Ohio listening to her father's stories of working in the space industry in the 1950s. At MIT she earned a degree in aerospace engineering while minoring in music, eventually beginning her career at NASA JPL in 1990. She began her work with the Mars Exploration Program on the Pathfinder mission and has since worked on the Odyssey and Curiosity missions and the Mars Exploration Rover Project. She currently is the deputy project manager for Mars 2020 and project missions manager for the Perseverance rover, which landed on the Martian surface in February. On April 19, she led the mission's Ingenuity helicopter in the first-ever powered flight on a world beyond Earth.
Once registered for the program, you will receive a letter from your new pen pal written specifically for this event. You may then write back with a question or comment, using a DHC prepaid postcard. The DHC will collect responses, passing along a selection to the pen pal. Everyone will receive a copy of the pen pal's response, thus closing the correspondence.
Register to correspond with Giovanni here. Register to correspond with Trosper here. More information about the program and registration is available on the DHC website.