Leland Melvin is inspiring young people to dream big through education. As someone who has been to both the NFL and space, he knows about achieving ambitious goals.
At Richmond, Melvin excelled in both science and football, earning a bachelor’s degree in chemistry the same spring he was drafted by the NFL’s Detroit Lions. When a series of preseason injuries ended his NFL career, he set his sights even higher — literally — becoming a NASA astronaut.
Melvin endured another sequence of delays and a career-threatening accident before finally traveling on space shuttle missions in 2008 and 2009 to work on the International Space Station. Now he uses those lessons and the fortitude within him to inspire young people to pursue STEAM education — studies of the sciences, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.