Phoenix College (PC) student Magdaleno Perez’s poem Inspiration, asks us to “Dream big … people of the world,” and PC faculty member Cody Wilson’s poem asks us to consider the Dust of Us. Both were among the creative works carried into space by civilian astronaut Dr. Sian Proctor, a faculty member at South Mountain Community College.
Perez, who is recareering after working in corrections and security, is majoring in social work. His passion for writing blossomed after taking classes with PC faculty members Amy Silverman and Cody Wilson. His poem was selected among more than 275 submissions from across the Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD), and was read in space by Dr. Proctor as part of the prosperity seat on the civilian mission.
“All of my instructors at Phoenix College have been great, but I have especially enjoyed the creative writing classes,” said Perez. He added, “I like to learn about social issues and incorporate them as themes in my poems.” Perez says he is thrilled that his poem is among the creative works aboard Inspiration4, and that Dr. Proctor’s achievements inspire him.
Perez, who loves online learning, started taking classes at PC during the spring of 2020, just as the Covid-19 pandemic was emerging. He first studied English with Amy Silverman, and later, enrolled in Cody Wilson’s creative writing class. With just three courses remaining, Perez will graduate in December with an Associate of Arts Degree, and plans to transfer to a university to complete his Bachelor’s degree.
Until Wilson and Perez came together to pose for this story’s photos, the two had never met in person. They now share a unique bond, and place in U.S. history, alongside Dr. Proctor and the Inspiration4 civilian mission.
View all of the winning art and poetry submissions from the Space2inspire competition here. Listen to Dr. Sian Proctor talk about her inspiration for entering space, and why she tells students that education is power, here.