A former Big Ridge student who is now working in NASA's control room in Houston was back in the Tennessee Valley telling students what he does and that they can one day do it as well.  

We're told Alex Apyan started loving rockets in the 5th grade at Big Ridge Elementary.  He later graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Rocket Science.

He says he talks to students from his hometown to encourage them to get the best education they can.

He also taught the students a little about rockets and described working at NASA.  

Apyan says it's been about 15 years since he was their age, but said he hopes to inspire the students to reach high academic goals.