Jeff Goldstein, Ph.D.
Center Director, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)
Institute Director, Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education
Dr. Jeff Goldstein is a nationally recognized science educator, and planetary scientist, who has dedicated his career to the public understanding of science and the joys of learning.
As NCESSE Center Director, he is responsible for overseeing the creation and delivery of national science education initiatives with a focus on earth and space. These include programs for schools, families, and the public; professional development for grade K-12 educators; and exhibitions for museums and science centers. Initiatives are meant to provide a window on the nature of science and the lives of modern-day explorers, with special emphasis on not just what is known about Earth and space but how it has come to be known. Programs embrace a Learning Community Model for science education.
Jeff oversaw the creation of the Center’s national science education initiatives, including the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), which immerses hundreds of students across each participating community in real science. As Director of the Voyage National Program, he led the inter-organizational team that permanently installed the Voyage model Solar System on the National Mall in Washington, DC, in front of the Smithsonian and is author of the storyboards. The exhibition is dedicated to an understanding of Earth’s place in space. The Center is now permanently installing replicas in communities world-wide (see Voyage in DC, Houston, Corpus Christi, and Kansas City.)
Jeff is Director for the Center’s activities supporting NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft mission to Mercury, which includes establishment of the MESSENGER Educator Fellows, a corps of master science teachers that are providing training for 27,000 teachers on Solar System science and exploration content. He also oversees Journey through the Universe—a national science education initiative that engages entire communities—students, teachers, families, and the public. He also directs the Family Science Night program at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Jeff is also a blogger at the Huffington Post, and writes Blog on the Universe which is dedicated to science education.
Jeff’s planetary science research includes the development of techniques for measuring global winds on other planets using large telescopes on Earth. His research has produced the first direct measurement of the global winds above the clouds on Venus, and the first measurement of the global winds on Mars.
Program Director: Voyage National Program, Journey through the Universe, MESSENGER Educator Fellowship Program, Family Science Night at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, Student Spaceflight Experiments Program
Blogger: Dr. Jeff’s Blog on the Universe
Contributing Blogger: Huffington Post
Contributing Blogger: The Climate Community
Full Bio at Blog on the Universe; CV on LinkedIn
Prior: EVP for Space Science Education and Research, Challenger Center (1996-2005); Astrophysicist, Laboratory for Astrophysics, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (1989-1996), departing as Acting Chair
Degrees: B.A., Physics, Queens College, City University of New York; M.S. and Ph.D., Astrophysics, University of Pennsylvania; recipient of the 1990 Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis Award, U. Penn Chapter, Sigma Xi
Notable: Ph.D. research as NASA Graduate Student Researcher, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; attended the Bronx High School of Science; recipient of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific’s 2005 Klumpke-Roberts Award for “Outstanding Contributions to the Public Understanding and Appreciation of Astronomy”; recipient of the 1995 Barry M. Goldwater Educator of the Year Award from the National Capital Section of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics for “an individual of national stature who has supported the advancement of science and technology in commerce and education at all levels”.
Highlight: Symphony of Science Music Video We’ve Got To Be That Light
A remix of Dr. Goldstein’s keynote address to 6,000 teachers at the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) National Conference, March 2011.
Highlight: Jeff Goldstein Interview on Human Exploration with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Interview with the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation’s Kauffman Conversations – “highlight interviews with guests whose ideas and insights are changing society. We are privileged to talk to these thought leaders, innovators, experts and authors and share their observations about their work, lives, and fields of expertise.” The interview addresses the nature of human existence in the greater universe using the context of the Voyage 1 to 10 billion scale model Solar System installed in Kansas City, MO, which is a replica of Voyage on the National Mall in Washington, DC.
Education Program Manager, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)
Stacy Hamel is the Education Program Manager for the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. Her previous experience at the Center included directing the Voyage National Program – a national public education and outreach program that is installing replicas of the Voyage Scale Model Solar System located on the National Mall in Washington, DC in communities worldwide. It is also designed as a focal point for community-wide science education in Solar System science and exploration.
Stacy also co-directed many of the Center’s other Educational Programs including Journey through the Universe – a national science education initiative that engages entire communities—students, teachers, families, and the public—using education programs in the Earth and space sciences and space exploration that inspire and educate. Over 200,000 grade preK-12 students have participated in Journey through the Universe.
Stacy currently manages the MESSENGER Educator Fellowship Program, the Center’s nationwide professional development initiative for educators in support of NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury, and which has trained over 20,000 grade K-12 teachers on solar system science and exploration since program inception in 2004.
Stacy manages the Center’s Family Science Night program at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, which has been running nearly 20 years, and has seen attendance by over 50,000 students, teachers, and parents.
Stacy serves as the National Program Manager for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP). She also manages SSEP International participation through the Center’s Arthur C. Clarke Institute for Space Education. Stacy oversees the operational phase of SSEP, which includes real microgravity experiment design competitions, proposal submission, experiment selection, and experiment validation. In this capacity she is also serves as the liaison to NanoRacks on the selected flight experiments and all issues associated with NASA flight safety review.
Assistant Education Program Manager, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education (NCESSE)
John is the Assistant Education Program Manager at the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. He provides logistics and coordination support for NCESSE’s various programs, including SSEP, Family Science Night and the MESSENGER Educator Fellowship program. John has extensive experience working with non-profit education organizations and a certified association management group. He also spent the early years of his career working directly with pre-school and school-aged children.
Director of Educational Technology, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Drew Roman is the primary driver of information technology at the Center, from providing the core IT infrastructure, handling the Center’s internet operations to leveraging social media. Drew has over 20 years of enterprise-level IT experience and is an Air Force veteran. When not working with NCESSE, Drew acts as Senior Manager, Cloud Operations at Deltek, Inc. an enterprise software company focused on the needs of project-oriented businesses. His passion for science, technology, engineering and space exploration fuels his enthusiasm for helping to inspire the next generation of explorers.
Harri Vanhala, Ph.D.
Adjunct Space Science Researcher, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Senior Scientist, Global Science and Technology, Inc.
Originally from Finland, Harri received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Oulu. Harri has worked in various research and education organizations in the Unites States for 16 years. His science research focuses on the use of computer simulations to investigate the origin of the Solar System, and development of computer models to investigate the properties of present-day planets.
His science education activities have included hundreds of visits to grade K-12 classrooms, conducting teacher training workshops, teaching college courses, and presentations to families and the public—he is one of the presenters for the Center’s Family Science Night program at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. Dr. Vanhala has also led multiple Journey through the Universe National Teams of scientists and engineers to under-served communities across the U.S., each Team spending an entire week in a community and talking to thousands of grade K-12 students one classroom at time.
Until July 2012, Harri managed the Center’s MESSENGER Educator Fellowship Program, Family Science Night Program at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, and served as the National Program Manager for the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program. In July 2012, Harri began a new position as Senior Scientist at Global Science and Technology, working with NASA’s Office of the Chief Technologist. Harri continues on staff at the Center as an Adjunct Space Science Researcher, and participates in the delivery of the Center’s education and public outreach programs. He also serves as a Science Advisor to the Center’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
Timothy Livengood, Ph.D.
Adjunct Space Science Researcher, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Assistant Research Scientist, University of Maryland, College Park
Tim is a University of Maryland researcher working on site at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Tim’s scientific field is infrared spectroscopy of planetary atmospheres, to measure composition, temperature, and wind velocity. His research includes everything in the Solar System with a significant atmosphere. He is a co-investigator on the EPOCh investigation of NASA’s EPOXI mission, and is the education and public outreach team leader for EPOCh.
Tim is also an adjunct faculty member at the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, serving as a presenter and team leader for the Center’s public and school programs, and has visited hundreds of classrooms. Behind the scenes, he has created new a large number of lessons, with embedded hands-on activities and clear explanations of required background science, for the Center’s grade K-12 compendia of lessons. Tim has also led workshops for teachers around the nation on the lessons. Tim serves as a Science Advisor to the Center’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
Tim is also a professional storyteller, using his life in science as a source of new ideas and material for stories, and using his experience in storytelling to convey science and the understanding of the world gained from science. He is an occasional writer, photographer, and silent actor in astronomy-themed music videos, produced primarily by Kelly Fast at Goddard Space Flight Center.
NASA EPOXI Mission
EPOXI/EPOCh Education and Public Outreach Team Leader
Degrees: B.A., Physics, Washington University; M.S. and Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy, Johns Hopkins University
Notable: Dr. Tim starring in Kelly’s music videos
Adjunct Space Science Educator, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Manager of Onsite Learning, Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, National Mall Building
Michael has worked in museums and zoos for more than 25 years, researching, writing, presenting and evaluating science programs for school groups, families and the general public.
Michael is responsible for science education at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. He also manages the How Things Fly gallery, Moving Beyond Earth gallery, the Public Observatory Project and the Explainers Program. How Things Fly teaches visitors about the science of flight. Moving Beyond Earth is an immersive exhibition placing visitors “in orbit” during the shuttle and space-station era. At the Public Observatory visitors explore craters on the Moon, spots on the Sun, the phases of Venus, and other wonders of the universe using a 16-inch telescope. The Explainers Program gives high school and college students the chance to work at the National Air and Space Museum.
Michael is also an adjunct faculty member at the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education, and he oversees all museum activities for the annual National Conference for the Center’s Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP) held at the National Air and Space Museum each July. He also serves as a Science Education Advisor to the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program.
Matthew Bobrowsky, Ph.D.
Adjunct Space Science Researcher, National Center for Earth and Space Science Education
Director of Special Programs, College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, Delaware State University
Adjunct Professor, University of Maryland University College
Dr. Matt Bobrowsky is a nationally recognized science educator. He is the lead author of the Phenomenon-Based Learning books for teaching physical science. Matt teaches various scientific subjects, carries out scientific research, and engages in numerous public speaking events. Currently at Delaware State University (DSU), recent experience also includes serving as Director of the Physics Demonstration Facility at UMCP, a collection of 1,600 science demonstrations.
Matt teaches at DSU and the University of Maryland University College, where he has received multiple awards (an example). He has developed science curriculum materials and presented countless workshops to teachers and the public. His educational presentations address topics such as the process of science, misconceptions in science, effective science teaching, and science vs. pseudoscience.
His public presentations on astronomy are entertaining and educational. Matt also delivers other types of presentations, such as after-dinner talks for corporate events. Read about his keynote address at the opening of the Heavens Above exhibit at the State University of NY at Geneseo.
As an astrophysicist, Matt’s research includes astronomical observations with many telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope. His specialty is the study of planetary nebulae – clouds of gas expanding outward from aging stars. One planetary nebula that he discovered using Hubble is the Stingray Nebula.
NASA Hubble Space Telescope Observer
Degrees: B.A., Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University; M.S. and Ph.D., Physics and Astronomy, University of Maryland
Notable: Keynote Speaker at 2009 conference of the West Virginia Science Teachers Association and featured presenter at conference of the MN Science Teachers Association; Won the UMD Stanley J. Drazek Teaching Excellence Award (given to the top two instructors out of ~800)
Amy Bartlett (Arizona)
Amy Bartlett currently teaches 9th grade Integrated Science at Raymond S. Kellis High School in the Peoria Unified School District. She has devoted the last 14 years to inspiring students with STEM experiences, instilling a love of learning, and passing on her passion for space science. In addition to teaching, advising, and coaching, she also had the privilege of attending Honeywell’s Space Academy and Advanced Space Academy for Educators at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama. She was greatly honored to have been selected to participate and was also a proud recipient of the prestigious Right Stuff Award. She has facilitated the Mars Student Imaging Project and led student groups to Arizona State University to deliver their MSIP proposals to professors and graduate students. At the Challenger Space Center, she has worked as a flight director and teacher liaison as well as annually led her students on educational simulated missions. Amy has escorted many student groups to Hawaii on an Earth Science tour to allow them to experience the curriculum first hand. As a MESSENGER Educator Fellow, she is excited to bring Mercury and space exploration one step closer to students and educators.
Aileen Ortega Canos (Guam)
Aileen Ortega Canos is an 8th Grade Science Teacher at FB Leon Guerrero Middle School located in Yigo, Guam. She has been a teacher for 14 years and has earned her Double Master’s Degree in Education in the areas of Administration and Supervision and Secondary Education. Aileen is also a 2005 Presidential Awardee for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Most recently, in 2009, she attained National Board Certification in Early Adolescence Science. Aileen always seeks opportunities where she can develop herself as a teacher and as a learner. Because of her dedication to teaching science and learning about space, she participated in several NASA workshops – NEW (NASA Education Workshop at Ames Research Center, URCEP Urban and Rural Community Enrichment Program and MND My NASA Data at Langley Research Center). Aileen is very excited to serve as a NASA MESSENGER Educator Fellow. As a MESSENGER Educator Fellow, she hopes to spark the interest of space science in students and teachers on Guam and in the Pacific Region.
Brenda Conway (Virginia)
I am an Instructional Technology Resource Teacher for Spotsylvania County Schools in Virginia. I earned my Masters from Virginia Commonwealth University through a grant provided by the National Science Foundation. My passion for inquiry, challenges, and space has taken me to Space Camp as a Honeywell Educator at NASA Space Academy, on the Weightless Flight of Discovery Zero G Flight program funded by Northrup Grumman and as an Educator Fellow for the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury. My hobbies include stargazing, rebuilding my Œ61 Buick and triathlon training.
Dr. Christina Dorr (Ohio)
Besides being privileged enough to be a MESSENGER Educator Fellow, I am in my 19th year as a media specialist, presently with Hilliard City School District, Hilliard, Ohio. In that capacity I get to teach a wide range of ages of children, and a wide range of subject matters, including technology, research, literacy, and content areas. I serve on building and district committees and initiatives, and try to make as wide an impact on education as possible. My Ph.D. from the Ohio State University has allowed me several teaching opportunities at local universities part-time, and to become a speaker for the American Library Association. I keep active with local, state, and national organizations and write for their publications. Most recently I earned National Board Teacher Certification in November 2008. Spare time activities include reading, traveling, and spending time with my family. Columbus, Ohio, is home for me and my family.
Alice A. (Alex) Eilers (Tennessee)
Alice A. (Alex) Eilers is the Manager of Education at the Pink Palace Museum, located in Memphis, TN. She has worked in informal education for more than 15 years. Ms. Eilers received her Master degree in Educational Psychology at the University of Memphis and her Bachelor of Science degree at the University of Mississippi in Oxford, MS. Alex has worked as a MESSENGER Educator Fellow since the program’s inception in 2003 and regularly presents at local and regional educator workshops. She was a 2008 NOAA Teachers at Sea participant, and was a member of the 2009 and 2010 NOAA Teacher at Sea review committee. Ms. Eilers was the 2008 runner up for “Most Excellent Educator” in the Memphis Most issue of the Commercial Appeal. She was also selected as one of the “50 Women Who Make a Difference” – Memphis Woman magazine 2008 and a “Woman to Watch” in Memphis Minority Business Magazine 2009.
Carol Fraser (Pennsylvania)
Carol is a fourth grade math and science teacher in the Highlands School District, grade level chairperson, and the teacher leader for the new Highlands Planetarium. She designed the curriculum for and will teach the first summer science camp to be held in 2010, recently did planetarium shows at Penn State for the NASA Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium Exploration Day, does monthly star parties, and helps Boy Scouts earn their astronomy badges. She graduated from Slippery Rock University, as did her daughter Lindsay, son-in-law Brandon Himes, and where son Andrew is currently studying. Her family also includes youngest son Alex, who is a fantastic assistant with the planetarium, and husband Milt.
Debra Gallagher, EdD (Ohio)
Debra Gallagher is an Assistant Professor of Education at Ohio Northern University. She is finishing her 32nd year of teaching and still loving every minute of it. Debra has been a MESSENGER Fellow since 2008. She believes that all students can learn and science must be hands-on. She has done numerous presentations at state and national conferences. Debra received the 2009 Friend of Science Award from the Science Education Council of Ohio. She especially enjoys sharing her love of science and math with the many pre-service teachers she teaches.
(Dolores) Lollie Garay (Texas)
Lollie Garay holds a Master of Science Teaching from Rice University, Houston TX. She has been a classroom teacher for 37 years and teaches Integrated Earth/Space Middle School Science at Redd School in Houston, Texas. Her educational mission is to get students and teachers excited about learning! Lollie has authored numerous original activities for classroom use and develops on-going After-school, Family, and Community Science programs. She is a presenter on the local, state, and national levels, and serves on numerous educational outreach committees. Lollie has been a member of the MESSENGER Mission to Mercury Educator Fellowship Program since 2004. In 2007 Lollie was chosen as an IPY/ PolarTREC Teacher and spent seven weeks in the Antarctic Seas working with an international U.S./Swedish scientific team doing oceanographic studies. She is currently working with researcher Dr. Tish Yager (UGA) on a proposed joint global oceans study that will translate Dr. Yagers work into a middle school curriculum on carbon sequestration. Lollie is married to Dr. Reynaldo Garay, Dean of Student Development at Houston Community College and has two grown children.
Jane Gilbride (New York)
Jane Gilbride is a science teacher at Starpoint High School in Lockport, New York and an educational Fellow to the NASA MESSENGER mission to Mercury. She received her Master of Science Education at the State University of New York College at Buffalo and her Bachelor of Science at St. Bonaventure University. Science initiatives led by Mrs. Gilbride include collaboration with Nobel Laureate Dr. Herbert Hauptman in the design of a math and science courtyard at Starpoint High School. The courtyard houses the Hauptman Crystal Garden, an installation of a tetrahedron, dodecahedron, icosahedron, cube and octahedron sculptures. For this work and her teaching, Mrs. Gilbride was awarded the American Chemical Society of WNY Distinguished High School Science Teacher of the Year. Mrs. Gilbride leads the Starpoint Astronomy club and has been the recipient of numerous innovative educational grants. Jane Gilbride enthusiastically teaches science and spreads the word of the MESSENGER mission at NSTA conferences, state conferences, local schools and workshops at local colleges and universities. When she is not “doing” science she is busy skiing with her husband Terry and their kids Mary, Maggie and Connor or hiking with their Old English Sheep dog.
Gene Gordon (New York)
I am a veteran teacher of 23 years. National Board certified in Physics, I have been teaching in Fairport NY for 13 years. I graduated (twice!) from Alfred University and have actively pursued my dream of sharing my life-long love for space and astronomy with any student or adult who would listen. Proud geek that I am, becoming a MESSENGER Fellow was a dream come true for me. Recently I was awarded the Excellence in Teaching award from the Science Teachers Association of New York State and was elected as the Director at Large for Physics to the Association. I live in Honeoye Falls NY.
Louisa Hodges (Louisiana)
I received my BS in Biology from Grambling State University and my MA from the University of Phoenix in Elementary Education. I am currently teaching 4th and 5th grade science at Bethany Christian School. I also act as a technology advisor to the teachers. I have just been awarded the PBS Innovative Teacher Award for demonstrating the use of innovative teaching strategies in the classroom. My philosophy of teaching begins with the principle that all students are able to learn if instruction has been presented in the proper manner. I am an advocate of differentiated learning and inquiry based instruction in the classroom. I believe that both of these concepts allow teachers the flexibility to teach students effectively based on their learning style.
Annette Iwamoto (California)
Annette is in her 31st year of teaching at Searles Elementary School in Union City, California. In addition to her classroom assignment, fourth and fifth grade, she serves as a Beginning Teacher Specialist mentoring and training first and second year teachers. In her classroom and in workshops she presents, Annette integrates and weaves the Language Arts Standards into the hands-on science lessons. Her goal is to inspire students and teachers alike to embrace the love of science through discovery, exploration and creativity. Annette is a National Board Certified teacher and a past finalist for California Teacher of the Year.
Sally Jensen (New Hampshire)
I am currently teaching middle school students at Waterville Valley Academy, in Waterville Valley, New Hampshire. There is a new pilot middle school program that will be starting this winter season, and I have the honor of being the director of this endeavor. I am also attending Plymouth State University, part time, to design a second masters in science and music. I consider myself a life time learner. I love space exploration and the universe. Everything and everyone has a connection with the various systems that function within our environment. We need to teach with that in mind. Earth is a very special planet in a very precise orbit, so neat stuff can all happen. It is really fun to keep learning.
Chad Johnson (Nebraska)
Chad is an education specialist for Nebraska Public Power District and a certified elementary teacher. After several years in the classroom, a few years at a hands-on science center and a couple of years as a stay-at-home dad, Chad currently travels the state of Nebraska presenting hands-on lessons on electrical safety, energy education and, of course, NASA MESSENGER programs. Chad received the 2005 Association of Science and Technology Centers Roy L. Schafer Leading Edge Award for New Leadership in the Field for innovative science education programming.
Cynthia Keeling (West Virginia)
Cynthia Keeling holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Fairmont State College and a Masters of Arts degree and Reading Specialization from Baldwin Wallace College. She also holds a specialization in gifted education from West Virginia University and a Educational Leadership degree from Salem International University. Cynthia has 32 years of teaching experience in kindergarten through eighth grades in Ohio and West Virginia. Cynthia was the 2000 Presidential Awardee for Elementary Science Teaching for the state of West Virginia. Cynthia has presented across the United States at conference and workshops for service and pre-service teachers. She is also the Solar System Educator for the State of West Virginia, as well as a New Horizon and MESSENGER Fellow. Cynthia serves as the SEPA (Science Elementary Presidential Awardee) representative for the state of West Virginia. Cynthia is currently the Dean of Students at Rivesville Elementary/Middle School.
Stefanie Long (Illinois)
I am currently working as a consultant at Two Rivers Professional Development Center in Central Illinois coaching math and science teachers in the Standards Aligned Curriculum strategies. I taught high school math for 13 years and look forward to going back into the classroom in a few years. I love sharing the excitement of space with in-service teachers as well as aspiring teachers. I look forward to working with anyone interested in bringing space alive in their classroom!
Carol Lee Lutsinger (Texas)
Being part of the MESSENGER outreach has been an exciting and rewarding experience. Sharing the program with teachers in South Texas as well as from across the state has been rewarding. The fact that NASA designates a percentage of its missions to fund teacher professional development has enabled me to be a part of something larger than I ever expected. In addition to the privilege of serving as a MESSENGER, I am a Solar System Educator, as well. I spend my “spare time” sharing space missions and astronomy at our local libraries twice a month through a program I call Astronomy 101. I also share the information via a weekly newspaper column that I have been writing for more than 13 years, grocery store parking lots, and on drives back home from presentations “up the Valley”. If you are ever accosted at a local burger place by an excited older woman urging you to “come outside and look … in the sky”, it might be me! Spending my time sharing ‘space’ is the best way I can think of because it touches everyone of all ages for a lifetime. My current professional role is as a classroom teacher for the Brownsville ISD on the Texas border with Mexico. International flavor blends all that we do here. Vengan y vean las planetas y las estrellas con nosotros.
Susie Miller (North Carolina)
I live in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina where I have been teaching for 32 years. I have a MA in Elementary Education and I am National Board Certified (NBPTS). I am currently teaching 3rd grade at Sparta Elementary. I have taught grades 1 through 6 and I love sharing MESSENGER and science with students and colleagues. I am also a trainer for NC Teacher Academy is several modules that focus on enhancing education across North Carolina.
Annette Pearson (Georgia)
Annette Pearson has been teaching middle grades Science for the last thirteen years in the Paulding County Schools outside the city of Atlanta. She loves helping her gifted students investigate the wonders of Earth and Physical Science. In her classroom, students are scientists, uncovering the concepts of the state standards and forming their own understanding. One of her greatest rewards is to motivate and train other teachers to engage students with an inquiry approach. As part of an MSP grant, she has been able to inspire others at conferences, both state and national, to implement an inquiry approach in their own Science classrooms. Participating in Northrop Grumman’s Zero G “Flight of Discovery” was one the personal highlights of her teaching career.
Rick Peck (Virginia)
Rick Peck currently teaches 6th grade science at Seneca Ridge Middle School in Sterling, Virginia, where he has been teaching since 1999. Prior to that, he had a career in business, which included being a partner of a major accounting firm in Washington, D.C. and the chief financial officer of a publishing firm in Springfield, Virginia. He is a graduate of Amherst College, the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce, and Shenandoah University. Passionate about space and the natural world, he believes that spreading an infectious enthusiasm about the concepts and particulars is important for students of all ages to become lifelong learners. He is active in efforts to bring a 134 million:1 scale model solar system to Loudoun County, to include a unique model of the Sun, with active features to replicate actions of the Sun.
Jean Pelezo (North Carolina)
My excitement for science began during my student teaching when the 3rd graders made faux seashell fossils. They were so proud of their accomplishments; they described the process of making them and showed them off to everyone. It’s hard to believe that was 21 years ago. My “teachable moment” from that experience is that we need to bring these experiences into our classrooms. As a current K-5 Science Lab teacher at the Morgantown Road Elementary school in Fayetteville, NC, my goal is to provide as many real-world applications to my students as possible. As a MESSENGER Educator Fellow, I believe that many students and colleagues will benefit from the knowledge that I will obtain through these NASA experiences.
Robert Petro (Pennsylvania)
I teach 7th and 8th Grade Accelerated Science in Exeter Township, Pennsylvania. I am a certified Earth and Space Science and Social Studies teacher and hold a Master’s Degree in Secondary and Professional Education from East Stroudsburg University. I am currently working toward a second Master’s Degree in Earth and Space Science. In 2008 I received a Honeywell scholarship to attend Teacher Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. My love of space started when I watched the first shuttle launch on television, and I enjoy sharing my passion for space exploration and the solar system with others. I believe students learn science best when they can experience the results first hand through activities that bring science to life.
Sandra Russell (New York)
Sandra teaches Earth Science and Biology in grades 9-12 at Starpoint High School in Lockport, NY. Her 40+ years of teaching experience include teaching at grade levels from kindergarten to college. She holds two Master’s degrees as well as permanent teaching certification in Earth Science, Biology, Mathematics, General Science, Elementary Education, and Physical Education. In addition to teaching students, Sandra has extensive experience in training other teachers. She is a MESSENGER Educator Fellow and a field trainer for GLOBE. She is also an educational consultant for the New York State Education Department as an item writer and a participant on the range-finding and editing committees. She has presented at numerous national, state, and regional conferences. Her basic philosophy in teaching science is getting across the idea that science is exciting. There is a great, big world and universe out there, and she believes in taking her students and fellow teachers out to personally discover it! She believes that students are more successful at learning by doing through hands-on experiences. It is also more fun for everyone involved including the teacher herself!
Deb Salberg (Minnesota)
I teach at J.A. Hughes Elementary, which is a small public school in northwestern Minnesota. I have been teaching for 38 years and earned my Master of Science in elementary and gifted education from MN State University, Moorhead. In 2008, I was selected as a state finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching. One of the best parts of teaching for me is learning with my students. A group of teachers from my school partnered with The Nature Conservancy’s Glacial Ridge Project to monitor the restoration of prairie/wetlands for change over time and the impact these changes have on flood control in the Red River Valley of the North. You can see a 6-minute documentary on our project at Edutopia. Besides my classroom work, I am a member of the MN Science Quality Teaching Network, Teachers as Learners and Leaders, and MN Science Teachers board. I am very excited about being a MESSENGER Educator Fellow and the opportunity this gives me to share quality education modules with groups of teachers. My husband, Dale, is a retired school superintendent. We have two grown children, Ryan and Lori, and a granddaughter, London.
Anita Salinas (Alabama)
I teach environmental science and earth and space science at Murphy High School in Mobile, Alabama. I also work closely with Mobile County Public School’s environmental studies center, which maintains a portable planetarium for space studies. Not only does the environmental studies center host field experiences for children, they also train educators to use a variety of resources in their classrooms. The best student learning takes place when students can get out of their books and seats and experience the science we are sharing with them.
Kris Swanson (Florida)
Kris Swanson is the Planetarium Resource Teacher at Poinciana Math/Science/Technology Magnet School in Boynton Beach Florida. He has been an educator in Palm Beach County for 16 years as a 5th grade classroom teacher, a science lab teacher, and a district technology specialist. He has a Masters of Arts in Educational Technology from Pepperdine University. Kris has been passionate about sharing his love for astronomy since childhood when he would coax family members up onto the roof of his backyard shed to look through his first telescope. He learned to operate the planetarium projector and observatory at the South Florida Science Museum as a 14 year old volunteer, and worked on the education staff at MOSI in Tampa while an undergraduate at the University of South Florida. His professional career has centered around sharing his love of science with students and other teachers.
Nancy Tashima (Hawaii)
Nancy Tashima had the pleasure of teaching physical science and aerospace studies for 22 years at Konawaena High School on the Big Island of Hawaii. For the past 19 years she has been a science resource teacher and curator of the Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center where her duties include development of its education and outreach programs. The learning center uses the theme of aerospace education to further the inspirational legacy of the Hawaii-born Challenger astronaut Ellison Onizuka, while engaging its visitors with scientific exhibits and unique interactive displays. Nancy is married to retired science teacher, James; they have two daughters and a granddaughter. Her favorite pastime is to collect and develop space-related items to teach students about the excitement of the cosmos! Nancy looks forward to the honor of sharing the excitement of the MESSENGER mission with teachers and their students in Hawaii and beyond!
Julie Taylor (California)
Julie Taylor taught in the Adelanto School District in California for 37 years. She retired in 2007, but has continued to be a 2nd/3rd grade math tutor for four Adelanto schools and the NASA/science advisor for Columbia Middle School, a NASA Explorer School. She also serves the science educational community as an educational consultant for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and for the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, MD. She is currently a MESSENGER Educator Fellow, Solar System Educator, and a Heliophysics Ambassador. She has amassed many awards over the years, including being selected as the Presidential Awardee for Elementary Science in 2001, becoming a National Board Certified Teacher in 2002,and receiving NSTA’s Distinguished Teaching Award for Middle School in 2007. She continues her work to provide the youth of the world with inspirational avenues to learn science.
Pamela Whiffen (Arizona)
For the last 18 years, Pamela Whiffen has been a Gifted Specialist and Curriculum Designer. She has also been deeply involved in a wide range of NASA’s national education and public outreach programs. These include: conducting teacher professional development as a NASA Educator Ambassador, a MESSENGER Educator Fellow, a Heliophysics Ambassador, a GRACE Fellow, and a Beyond the Solar System Fellow for the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics; serving as a presenter for the National Science Digital Library; and conducting presentations as a Solar System Ambassador, and as a National Space Biomedical Research Institute Fellow. She has delivered presentations at local, state, regional, national, and international venues. At the local level in Arizona, she was the academic lead for a multi-year NSF/WEA grant funded program aimed specifically at increasing the involvement of girls and underrepresented minorities in math and science. She is also the Southwestern Regional Director for the National Earth Science Teachers Association. Pamela has multiple undergraduate degrees, a Masters in Secondary Education with an emphasis on science education, and a passion for sharing the wonders of space science. She is currently a Gifted Science Specialist for the Scottsdale Unified School District and teaches at Mohave and Supai Middle Schools.
Cathy Williamson (Louisiana)
I am the Education Coordinator at Sci-Port Louisiana Science Museum in Shreveport, Louisiana. I am responsible for educational programming, teacher professional development, and educational outreach at our hands-on science museum. We serve northwest Texas, southwest and central Arkansas and all of Louisiana. I have taught in the classroom for 27 years and been at Sci-Port nine years. I love science and especially space science.