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.