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Space Exploration Educator Crew

Educators from around the country are collaborating to prepare students for 21st century science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers through Space Center Houston’s Space Exploration Educator Crew.

Space Center Houston launched the program in 2017 to help meet a nationwide need to prepare students for STEM careers and an equal need for extraordinary teacher leaders to inspire students. 

The crew aims to empower teachers to build leadership competencies by creating innovative STEM programs for their students, schools and communities. The crewmembers serve as lead space science educators in their region.

Crew and Member Locations

  • Destiny: Alaska, Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico and Oregon
  • Harmony: Louisiana, Texas and Georgia
  • Starliner: Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Virginia
  • Tranquility: Missouri, Indiana, Tennessee and Michigan
  • Quest: Georgia and Florida
  • Unity: New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island

The group of kindergarten through 12th-grade educators attend Space Center Houston’s annual Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC). At the conference, the educators share their outreach experiences with other educators in their schools, districts, states or regions for one year.

Through the program, teachers have access to unique professional development opportunities including the ability to collaborate with their regional teams and collaborate virtually with national educators to enhance and expand outreach.

The Space Exploration Educator Crew was made possible by a generous grant from The Boeing Company.

Explore crewmembers bios as well as news and initiatives below.

Space Exploration Educator Crew Members

Adlena Jacobs

Educating since: 2008 | Title: STEM Educator/Coordinator

Location: Sunnyvale, Texas | School: Sunnyvale High School

Education: B.S. in Physics Stephen F. Austin State University; M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Texas A&M at Commerce

Highlights: SEEC crew has allowed Jacob’s educator experience to reach new heights. By being involved with this awesome crew the connections to other districts and organizations has allowed her to help all of her students reach higher limits into their STEM aspirations. She and her students became more involved with national competitions and regional contest and became recognized as a district in STEM.

Amanda Blough

Educating since: 2000 | Title: Education Specialist

Location: NASA Johnson Space Center | School: NASA Office of STEM Engagement

Education: B.S. in Exercise and Sports Science from Penn State University; Certificate Elementary Education Wilson College

Highlights: Being a part of the space exploration educator crew has helped me tremendously not only professionally but personally. I have built a fantastic professional learning community where I can learn of unique opportunities for my students. I have been able to be a part of out of the classroom professional development experiences that are unlike any other. My former students have benefited from the lessons learned from these experiences, and hopefully feel motivated, and know that there is a place for them in the STEM field.

Amy Fetterhoff

Educating since: 2002 | Title: Teacher

Location: Chambersburg, Pennsylvania | School: Corpus Christi Catholic School

Highlights: With 18 years of teaching, Fetterhoff’s love for science has grown with the help of several NASA encounters. She has partaken in the Reduced-Gravity Flight Program, conducting research in a weightless environment. In addition, Fetterhoff has participated in the ARISS program where her students spoke directly to Astronaut Kjell Lindgren onboard the International Space Station. She believes the more experiences she has, the better she will become at capturing her students and developing them into life-long scientists and engineers.

Amy C. Tinnell

Educating since: 2000 | Title: Gifted Resource Specialist

Location: Hoschton, Georgia | School: West Jackson Elementary School

Education: Bachelor of Science in education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte; Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction, specializing in integrated teaching through the arts

Highlights: Tinnell’s 5th grade class was chosen as one of five in the state to radio communicate with an astronaut on the International Space Station. Tinnell feels a great sense of accomplishment when she provides learning experiences for students in her rural community that challenge them to exceed expectations of what small-town kids can do.

Ashlie Smith

Educating since: 2003 | Title: Physical Science and STEM Teacher

Location: Bloomfield Hills, Michigan | School: Cranbrook Schools

Education: MAT Secondary Science Education, Wayne State University;  BS Zoology and Environmental Biology, Michigan State University

Highlights: My participation in the SEEC Crew has been a catalyst for integrating space science into my classroom. The connections that I have developed with peer SEEC Crew members and members of the space community have been a source of constant support, inspiration, and knowledge. I regularly call upon other members of the SEEC Crew for ideas and resources, and they frequently reach out to me for advice. Our collaborations have resulted in the development of many new activities that have been implemented in my classroom and shared with other teachers across the World. Awards that I have won include the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award, Michigan Air Force Teacher of the Year, and  International Space Station US National Lab Outstanding Educator Awar.

Barb Lambert Gruber

Title: Supervisor School Programs

Location: Ashburn, Virginia | School: National Air and Space Museum

Education: Bachelor of Science in chemistry education from California University of Pennsylvania; Master of Education in educational technology from San Diego State University; Master of Education in administration and leadership from The University of Phoenix; Ph.D. in education with an emphasis in instructional technology and educational policy from George Mason University

Highlights: Gruber became the first certified educational technology leader from The Consortium of School Networks (CoSN) in the greater Washington D.C. area.

Becky Busby

Educating since: 2003 | Title: Gifted Resource Teacher

Location: Hinesville, Georgia | School: Frank Long Elementary

Highlights: In the classroom, Busby is a powerhouse. She has written grants to obtain STEM resources for her school, facilitated school climate activities for staff and students, and has personally brought the first robotics program into the district. Busby was selected to work with NASA on the “Year in Space” mission to bring NASA resources and STEM education to Liberty County. Through this experience, she plans on implementing professional development courses for teachers and parents to enrich the Liberty County School District.

Becky Fritchie

Educating since: 2009 | Title: STEAM Lab Facilitator

Location: Prairieville, LA | School: Bluff Ridge Primary

Education: B.S. in Elementary Education from Louisiana State University

Highlights: Being part of the SEEC Crew has helped Fritchie, her students, and her community by allowing access to some of the country’s finest aerospace educators. Crew members help with resources, lesson plans, activities, and ideas to help reach her students. She was named Southwest Region Aerospace Educator of the Year in 2019 and from the Civil Air Patrol in 2019, Louisiana State Aerospace Educator of the Year from Civil Air Patrol in 2018 and Spanish Lake Primary Teacher of the Year in 2016.

Betty Jo Moore

Educating since: 2007 | Title: Science Teacher/6th grade

Location: Winston-Salem NC |  School: Wiley Magnet Middle School

Education: Bachelors of Science in Management Information Systems Winston-Salem State University Masters of Arts in STEM Education Western Carolina University

Highlights: Moore has connected with like-minded educators and professionals through the SEEC Crew. She has been able to share teaching ideas that have worked in her classroom and her students have had the opportunity to video conference with other students across the country and share their projects. She received first place in Henry Ford’s Innovation Nation Teacher Innovator Award in 2018.

Carlos Díez

Educating since: 2022 | Title: Teacher

Location: Madrid, Cundinamarca | Organization: Institución Zoraida Cadavid de Sierra

Education: Major in Mathematics, Fundación Universitaria Konrad; Master in Education, Universidad de los Andes; Doctor in Mathematics Education, Universidad Antonio Nariño

Highlights: Belonging to SEEC through the Athenea program within the framework of Mission Liberty I has been very important for our institution and its students. For the institution because it has allowed us to promote the development of STEM skills in our region; and for our students because it has helped them to strengthen their life projects.Carl

Celena Miller

Educating since: 2008 | Title: Senior Education Outreach Coordinator

Location: Austin, Texas | Organization: NASA Texas Space Grant/UT Center for Space Research

Education: B.S. from University of Texas RGV; M.S. from University of Texas RGV; NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate in STEM Education from Colombia University

Highlights: Miller has participated in NASA’s Project 3D View, the NASA Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project, the Robotics, Ocean and Microgravity Explorers Challenge, and as a Mars Atmospheric and Volatile Evolution Teacher Ambassador. She was a Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching National Winner in 2013, and HEB Excellence in Education Award winner in 2014 and Leadership Category winner in 2019.

Christine Graham

Educating since: 1995 | Title: 6th Grade Science Teacher

Location: McKinney, Texas | Organization: Cockrill Middle School

Education: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies

Highlights: As a new member of CREW I plan to soak up as much information as I can. I am sponsoring a new Robots to Rockets club at our school and plan to implement new resources from SEEC in this club. As a SEEC attendee since 2001 I have gained numerous resources and a network of amazing friends. This has lead me to NASA NEW, becoming a Teacher Liaison, Space Camp, Space Station Ambassador, and Civil Air Patrol member. I love sharing all of these adventures and resources with my students and fellow teachers, and one day hope to say- “Hey, I taught that astronaut!”

Awards: Cherri Brinley Space Educator Award Recipient, SEEC 2022; Teacher Liaison Space Education Foundation Flight 17-20; Texas A&M Sigma XI Elementary Science Teacher Award Winner, 2008

Courtney Black

Educating since: 2007 | Title: Education Project Manager

Location: Melbourne, Florida | School: ISS US National Lab

Education: B.S. in Communications from FSU; LLB in Laws University of Southampton

Highlights: Black is a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, JPL Solar System Ambassador, Space Station Ambassador, and an educator member of the Civil Air Patrol and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. She has received the Golden Apple Award from the Foundation for Lee County Public Schools and the Excellence in Education award from the Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce. In the fall of 2018, she coordinated an ARISS contact and in February of 2020 coordinated a downlink with the ISS.

David Ariza

Educating since: 2017 | Title: STEM leader

Location: Madrid, Colombia | School: Institución Zoraida Cadavid de Sierra

Education: Bachelor’s in electronics from Universidad Pedagógica Nacional; Master’s of renewable energy and energy efficiency from the Renewable Energy Study Center; CEER Master of social innovations in education (current) from Universidad Minuto de Dios

Highlights: Ariza believes each talk serves to inspire and empower his students to achieve their dreams. He works to give context to the content he teaches and generate interdisciplinary projects that enrich his students’ learning. Ariza was recognized by the Ecuador Ministry of Education in the development of STEAM guides for their application in public schools in 2020.

Debbie Reynolds

Educating since: 1986 | Title: Director of TechWorks

Location: Pittsburgh, PA | School: Commonwealth Charter Academy

Education: Bachelor of Science, Biology, Stephen F. Austin State University; Master of Education, Curriculum and Instruction-STEM, Concordia University of Portland; K-12 School Principal Certification, Point Park University

Highlights: Space Educator Crew is a wonderful group of educators who share a deep love of space and continue to develop and grow professionally and personally. Being part of the SEEC Crew has enabled me to have access to space and STEM resources and opportunities that I would not normally have been able to experience. In turn, I have been able to take that learning back to my students, colleagues and the community. SEEC Crew has allowed me to expand my network and explore new professional opportunities. Awards that she has received include the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, 2019-2020; Paragon Tec- NASA SPARX program grant recipient partner organization-LiftOff Alumni Association -2021;  Teaching STEM and Space in China summer program 2018 and 2019

Denise Duke

Educating since: 1992 | Title: Technology and Learning Coach

Location: Columbia, South Carolina | School: Forest Lake Elementary

Education: Bachelor of Arts in Education, Early Childhood and Elementary, University of South Carolina; Master of Education in Divergent Learning, Columbia College

Highlights: Denise has worked tirelessly to increase students’ and teachers’ knowledge of space exploration as a classroom teacher, NASA Lab teacher, and currently as a Technology Learning Coach. She was recognized as the first recipient of the NASA Digital Learning Network Beagle Award after years of working with NASA to extend DLN programs to the primary grades. She was Forest Lake’s Teacher of the Year in 2011-2012 and participated in NASA Explorer Schools Reduced Gravity Flight in February 2012 and April 2013.Denise and some of her fourth-grade students also assisted EdVenture Children’s Museum with the creation of a flight exhibit and brought the week-long STARBase field study experience back to the school.

Deb Elliott

Educating since: 2008 | Title: 4th Grade math teacher

Location: Carthage, North Carolina | School: Sandhills Farm Life Elementary

Highlights: Elliot was selected as a teacher liaison for the Space Foundation in Colorado Springs, where she learned how to bring STEM to life with her students and collaborate with remarkable teachers. She has also presented at a teacher workshop at the National Space Symposium on innovative ways to incorporate STEM, and has been creating a science program and implementing it for kindergarten through sixth grade.

Diego Martinez

Title: Science Mastery Specialist

Location: Sheridan, Oregon | School: Delphian School

Highlights: Some of his top achievements include earning the United Space Alliance Grant, a space astrogation project called Mars in 2020, which helped him inspire students to imagine exploring Mars through a unique space curriculum. This project culminated with a summit of Mount Blanca, over 14,000 feet, and breaking a model rocket launch record. He also wrote the TESLA program (Teaching Extraordinary Students Lessons in Aerospace), which was a key component to winning the 2013 Alan Shepard Award for Space Education Technology.

Ellisha Newton

Educating since: 1995 | Title: At-Risk Teacher

Location: Spring, Texas | School: Twin Creeks Middle School

Education: Master of Science in education leadership from Southern University and A&M College; Bachelor of Arts in elementary education from Dillard University

Highlights: As a result of sharing STEM with her scholars and community, Newton’s scholars, who were previously quiet and withdrawn, now participate with their hands held high and are scholar advocates. Newton builds relationships and influences leaders who provide engaging activities, student praise, scholars’ jobs, and more. She was awarded the Bright Spot Speaker for the Children’s Environmental Literacy Foundation’s Leadership Series in 2020.

Fernando Ruiz

Educating since: 1992 | Title: STEAM Educator / School Administrator

Location: Colombia, South America | School: Oakland Colegio Campestre 

Education: STEAM Educator, Oakland Colegio Campestre, Colombia; Colombia Space School, Chief Communications Officer; Lunar Sample Teacher, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center; Director of Art and Photography, Film and TV School of the Academy of Performing Arts in Prague

Highlights: Ruiz has led teachers and students in Space Center participation throughout the last decade. He created face-to-face and virtual programs so that international communities find interconnections that, like the explorations of the Universe, are born from the classroom.Since 2009, Ruiz has invited students and teachers from over 20 Colombian schools and universities to join in his “learning adventures” through Space Centers in the USA. At Oakland School, teachers have incorporated STEAM activities into each and every class to inspire students from preschool to high school. Alumni have been inspired to become doctors, engineers, pilots and professionals who help invite young students to keep reaching for the stars.During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ruiz and fellow SEEC CREW MEMBERS engaged teachers and students from nine countries with The NASA SPARX Challenges and competitions and The Space Metaverse international Challenge. Ruiz believes that “we cannot afford to stop moving forward. Setting a good example is key to the message we teach.”Since 2011 Fernando is member of the Foundation for International Space Education, FISE. and now Head teacher of the United Space School, an interdisciplinary program that annually brings together up to 50 students from 30 different nations to study in Houston, Texas.“A good teacher needs to be a full-time student in order to stay updated and learn innovative, diverse ways to inspire students and their community. It is through the teacher that families and countries are empowered to work as a team to building a better future, together. It is important that students understand discipline and consistency as the key vehicles to fulfill one´s dream. Ruiz is an example of living his dream to inspire future generations.

Awards: Latin America Coordinator for the Foundation for International Space Education, FISE;  Head teacher of the Houston based United Space School Program

Hanna Cohen

Educating since: 2018 | Title: Science Teacher

Location: Winnetka, IL | School: New Trier High School

Education: B.S. in Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign; M.S. in Geosciences, Western Michigan University; M.A.T. in Secondary Education, National Louis University

Highlights: As a chemistry and astronomy teacher, Hanna is excited about collaborative science learning and hands-on STEM experiences as she encourages curiosity. In her astronomy class, students are self proclaimed ‘Cohen Crew’ members that are eager to explore the universe through learning, labs, and engineering design projects. SEEC Crew will expand Hanna’s network regionally and nationally so she can continue to bring new and innovative science and space education to her students every day.

Heidi Ragsdale

Educating since: 2001 | Title: STEM Educator Training CEO

Location: Grand Junction, CO | School: STEM is My Future @ Grand Junction MakerSpace

Education: Bachelor of Science/ Education (6-12) Colorado Mesa University; Masters of TESOL/ESL, Grand Canyon University; Certificate for GIS Education, GeoTech Center K-16

Highlights: Being a part of SEEC has helped bring incredible opportunities to my former middle school students, and more importantly to the educators I how train in my role of STEM is My Future CEO. The connections made from SEEC CREW include a immense friendship, friends for life and super creative and innovative educators supporting each other with one mission, to provide space science across the world. In-person and virtual experiences have changed the lives of thousands of STEM Professionals, educators, and students.

Awards: GeoTech Center Lifetime Achievement Award 2022; National Geographic Grantee 20-22, Teacher Advisory Council NG; Girl Scouts of Colorado – Women of Distinction 2022

Javier Montiel

Educating since: 2004 | Title: The International Aerospace Academy ( Founder

Location: Houston, TX | School:

Education: Instructional Design and Technology M.Ed.; Administrative Computer Systems

Highlights: As an innovative educator, I collaborate with students, and educators from around the world to share my expertise and also to learn from others. I would like to have the opportunity to serve and collaborate, and research implementation methodologies and framework models for educational institutions, women, and minority groups. I would like to be part of a team that is responsible for making global decisions that will impact education in the 21st century. Montiel has won several awards such as Top 100 Leaders in Education Award (Global Forum For Education and Learning, 2020),  Advanced Achievement Award (Full Sail University, class Dec. 2014), and Valedictorian (Full Sail University, class December 2014).

James M. Falletti

Educating since: 2010 | Title: 5th & 6th Grade Science/STEAM & Tech Integrator

Location: Hasbrouck Heights, NJ

Education:B.A. from Stony Brook University; Master of Education in Teaching, Education Leadership, and Counseling from Saint Peter’s University

Highlights: Falletti is a lifelong learner who has grown as a global educator through programs like SEEC, HESA (2017/2018), HIEE (2018), Advanced Space Academy for Educators, and Teacher’s School for Ecology. Most recent accomplishments include becoming a NatGeo Certified Educator, a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador 2020, and a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison Flight 17-20. Falletti looks forward to inspiring the next generation of astro scientists.

Jen Carver-Hunter

Educating since: 2001 | Title: 5th Grade Teacher

Location: Salt Lake City, UT | School: Mountain View Elementary School

Education: AB Spanish, Bryn Mawr College; MA Curriculum and Instruction, Adams State College

Highlights: Being part of the SEEC Crew will provide opportunities to connect with other educators who are passionate about space exploration and will also provide access to resources that further enrich my students’ education.

Awards: 2020 PAEMST Elementary Science; 2022 Salt Lake City School District Teacher of the Year; Crew Commander and Master Teacher of Spaceward Bound Utah at Mars Desert Research Station

Jennifer Cheesman

Educating since: 1998 | Title: Teacher

Location: Sun City, Arizona | School: Zuni Hills Elementary School

Education: Degree in Elementary Education through Northern Arizona University; Master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix

Highlights: Cheesman has presented at numerous local and national conferences across the United States. In the summer, Cheesman can be found at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center as an educator crew trainer educating teachers from around the world in STEM and space education.

Jennifer Duffer

Educating since: 2005 | Title: Engineering and robotics teacher

Location: Montgomery, Texas | School: Montgomery High School

Highlights: Duffer has been an integral part in developing the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) and Robotics programs at her school. Currently Duffer and her Aerospace Engineering students are building a Van’s RV-12 airplane along with the support of local mentors from the aviation and engineering career fields. Participating in the Texas Space Consortium Lift Off Summer Institute, Space Academy and SEEC provide her with opportunities to learn more about the current mission and focus of space exploration so she can take that back to her students.

Jenny McCall

Educating since: 1997 | Title: 6th – 8th Grades Project Lead the Way Elective Teacher

Location: Lexington, KY | School: Winburn Middle School, Fayette County Public Schools

Education:Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and Chemistry Education Indiana University of Pennsylvania; Master of Education in Diverse Learning Trinity International University

Highlights: As a 2023 Limitless Educator, McCall is excited to explore the many career possibilities that will support and enable interstellar travel. McCall’s students have previously researched and designed experiments centered around fluid dynamics in microgravity with research based connections to the design of the Modal Propellant Gauging system of the Lunar Orbiting Platform. Her journey to impassioned teaching about space exploration took off after attending Honeywell’s Educators at Space Academy in 2018. The SEEC Crew has continually inspired and fueled her passion as she seeks to provide new opportunities for her students to dream beyond the everyday sources of trauma that many of them are dealing with and envision a future with no limits!

Awards: 2023 Limitless Educator (Limitless Space Institute); 2022 NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassador Cycle 9; 2020 Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium Embedded Teacher

Jessica Hostiadi

Educating since: 2005

Location: Tampa, FL | School: Mabry Elementary

Education: Bachelor of Economic, Accounting, University of Tarumanagara; Master of Education, Early Childhood Development, University of Pelita Harapan; Master od Education, Innovation and Learning, Driestar University

Highlights: I do believe that becoming a SEEC crews help me to grow my knowldege and expertise in teaching, enlarge my network with STEM educators around the world, and enhance my leadership and communication skills. I am eagerly share my new insight and experience that I gained from SEEC 2023 to my students and fellow teachers in Indonesia. Becoming a role model is the best to inspire the next generation! Can wait to be the part of something amazing!! 

Awards: Honeywell Educators Space Academy 2018, Teacher Liaison flight 18-21, Holland Scholarship 2019

Jessica Sadler

Educating since: 2012

Location: Kansas | School: Oregon Trail Middle School

Education: Bachelors in Elementary Education from the University of Kansas; Masters in Special Education from the University of Kansas

Highlights: I think being selected for this opportunity is going to help immensely. I know that I will be a better educator by participating and my students’ love of space will flourish. Having events where our community can come to our school and interact will be huge. I am so excited for all there is to learn and the many opportunities to pass quality space education along to others.

Awards: Spirit of Education award Winner 2020; Selected for the Smithsonian’s Teacher Innovator Institute; Kansas Teacher of the Year Nominee

Jessica Strauss

Educating since: 2005 Title: 3rd grade gifted math/science teacher

Location: Tampa, FL | School: Mabry Elementary

Education: B.A. in Elementary Education from Stetson University; Master in Educational Leadership from Saint Leo University

Highlights: Strauss has connected with educators around the country as a SEEC Crew member. She has gained knowledge and resources and grown as a STEM education leader, providing a platform to collaborate with NASA experts, present at conferences, and improve her ability to disseminate information to educators in her state. She was a Space Teacher Liason in 2019, part of the Student Spaceflight Program in 2015 and Mabry Elementary Teacher of the Year in 2012.

Jill Gilford

Educating since: 2006 | Title: STEM Specialist

Location: Monticello, Indiana | School: Equitable Education Solutions

Education: BS in Life Science Education

Highlights: In 2014 Gilford created a program named the “Science Buddies” that allows honors Earth/space students to partner with a class of first-grade students, which is the primary reason for being awarded the Alan Shepard Technology in Education award. I am extremely grateful to be a part of the inaugural class of the Space Exploration Educators Crew because it has opened many doors and fostered quite a few friendships. I look forward to gaining many new lessons that will ignite Indiana students’ and teachers’ passion for astronomy! Gilford has won several awards such as the 2019 Alan Shepard Technology in Education, the 2019 Crystal Apple, and the 2017 Top 25 Teacher of the Year for the State of Indiana.

Jodie Guillen

Title: Space Education Specialist

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado | School: The Space Foundation

Highlights: Prior to joining the Space Foundation team, Guillen taught Earth, space, and life science to middle school students in Moriarty, New Mexico, where she secured over $80,000 in grant money for her Title 1 school. Most recently, she spent three weeks in Shenzhen, China, during the summer of 2018, teaching a Space STEAM camp to Chinese students from K-5th grade. Guillen has won several awards from her teaching, including the 2017 Cheri Brinley Outstanding Teacher Award from the Space Center Houston.

Julie Farmer

Educating since: 2005 | Title: 2nd Grade Teacher

Location: Knoxville, Tennessee | School: Mooreland Heights Elementary

Education: B.S. in Education and M.S. in Elementary from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; M.A in Family Therapy from Appalachian State University

Highlights: Being a part of the SEEC crew has opened up a world of opportunities for Farmer’s students and school as well as for her own professional development. Since becoming a SEEC crew member, she has coordinated an ARISS contact for her school, participated with her grade level in an Explorer Classroom with astronaut Terry Virts, became a National Geographic Certified educator, and participated in the Liftoff program for teachers.

Karen Kingrea

Educating since: 1988 | Title: STEM Director; 7th & 8th grade Technology & Engineering teacher

Location: Durham, North Carolina | School: Immaculata Catholic School

Highlights: In 2008, Kingrea was part of a two-week institute at NASA Langley Research Center. A lucrative partnership continues as she brings teacher and student groups to the facility, hosts NASA experts at her schools and works various NASA events. In 32 years of teaching, nothing she did made her more excited than the ICS middle school STEM project this year, Project Eagle: Mission to Mars. Student teams create a Martian habitat which includes ten different 12-foot by 5-foot modules, working drones and ROV’s, an astronaut transport vehicle and more.

Kate McCann

Educating since: 1998 | Title: Math Teacher

Location: Montpelier, Vermont | School: U-32 Middle & High School

Education:Masters in Curriculum and Instruction University of Vermont Bachelors of Science in Mathematics University of Vermont

Highlights: McCann has used TeachEngineering curriculum in the classroom, set up a video conference for her students with a Boeing rocket scientist, presented at her first international conference, and applied for a Rowland Fellowship to begin a STEM Academy at her school. She was awarded an Einstein fellowship in 2018, Vermont State Teacher of the year in 2017, and the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching in 2015.

Katie Belloli

Educating since: 2013 | Title: STEM Teacher

Location: Indiana | School: Westfield Intermediate School

Education: B.S. Elementary Education, Purdue University; STEM Education Leadership Certificate, NASA Endeavor, Columbia University; M.S.Ed Curriculum and Instruction, STEM Education concentration, Purdue University

Highlights: Being a SEEC Crew member has transformed me both personally and professionally. It has allowed me to find my passion in STEM education and space exploration. I have had the wonderful opportunity of meeting educators, astronauts, scientists and engineers who fascinate and inspire me. I have been able to continue learning and growing. The best part is being able to share my experiences and knowledge with my students and educators from around the world.

Awards: Attending Space Camp for Educators; Being granted a Giant Mars Map from the Share Space Foundation and an ISS Above from CASIS; Being featured in Purdue’s College of Education magazine, LAUNCH in Fall 2017

Katrina Roddenberry

Educating since: 2008 Title: Science Teacher

Location: Crawfordville, Florida | School: Wakulla Middle School

Education: B.A. in Elementary Education from Flagler College; Master of Education in Curriculum and Instruction with Concentration in Teaching Science American College of Education

Highlights: Before teaching at Wakulla Middle School (WMS), Roddenberry taught for nine years at Riversink Elementary School (RES). Roddenberry is also an adjunct instructor at Flagler College-Tallahassee. She and her students have participated in numerous NASA Challenges and programs over the years. She was named WMS Teacher of the Year in 2019; Space Foundation Teacher Liaison in 2018 and RES Teacher of the Year in 2013.

Kellie Taylor

Educating since: 2004 | Title: Elementary educator

Location: Boise, ID | School: Cynthia Mann Elementary

Education: Doctor of Education in Educational Technology, M.S. in Educational Technology, and Bachelor’s in Elementary Education from Boise State University

Highlights: Taylor is a NMAAHC STEM Master Teacher fellow and served as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow. She collaborates with state organizations to assist with bringing STEM opportunities to students across Idaho and beyond. She was named Museum of African American History and Culture STEM Master Teacher Fellow in 2021 and was was awarded the Engineering Educators Association Teacher Excellence Award in 2020.

Lauren Parker

Educating since: 2010 | Title: 7th and 8th Grade Science Teacher

Location: Fort Worth, Texas | School: Fort Worth Academy

Education: Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Education from Texas Christian University

Highlights: Parker has earned many recognitions in her teaching career including being named District Teacher of the Year. She was also selected to present with her students at the NASA/Sally Ride Science GRAIL MoonKam Teacher Expo in Washington, D.C. to share how the mission was incorporated in the classroom. She is a frequent presenter at both local and national conferences.

Leesa Hubbard

Educating since: 1987 | Title: STEM Teacher

Location: Wilson County Schools | School: W.A. Wright Elementary

Highlights: During the 2002-2003 school year, Hubbard was awarded the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship, where she worked for a year at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. While there, she had the opportunity to work with the Educator Astronaut Program. She also served as a Teacher in Residence for Sally Ride Science, and implemented professional development for teachers surrounding NASA’s GRAIL mission to the Moon. Hubbard has been the recipient of several awards, including the Cheri Brindley Space Educator Award.

Linda Frantz

Educating since: 2008 | Title: Elementary STEM Educator

Location: Oklahoma City School | School: Northridge Elementary, Putnam City Schools

Education: Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering University of Oklahoma Master of International Business University of Texas at Dallas

Highlights: Serving as a part of the Space Exploration Educator Crew has given Frantz the opportunity to collaborate with inspirational STEM educators from around the world. Space Center Houston has provided the crew with access to elite professional development and experiences which would not have been possible otherwise. Frantz has grown as a STEM educator through the organization and looks forward to many more years!

Lisa Stewart

Educating since: 2000 | Title: Teacher

Location: Harker Height, Texas | School: Skipcha Elementary

Education: Bachelor of Science in Community Health and Bachelor of Arts in Spanish Lamar University Master of Education Lamar University

Highlights: Stewart launched a robotics club at her school with the help of coding resources from SEEC. She also organized her school’s first Space Night with around 1000 attendees visiting over 25 interactive learning stations, including moon and meteorite samples on loan from NASA. She was named Science Teachers Association of Texas Elementary Science Teacher of the Year in 2014 and selected for NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium’s LiftOff Institute in 2019.

Lorie Hammerstrom

Educating since: 1986 | Title: Informal STEM Teacher

Location: Hingham, MA | School: Quincy Public Schools

Highlights: After attending Space Academy for Teachers in Huntsville, Ala., Hammerstrom created an afterschool enrichment program for her students. This program is 10 weeks of STEM activities geared toward space exploration. She is a Space Camp Ambassador as well as an Ambassador to the Solar System and has served as the LEGO robotics coach at her school. Hammerstrom was awarded the Presidential Award for Math and Science Teachers for 2016.

Machin L Norris

Educating since: 2010 | Title: STEAM Educator

Location: Greeley, Colorado | School: Greeley-Evans School District 6

Education:BS Agriculture and Renewable Resources Colorado State University

Highlights: Norris has earned many distinctions, including the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator award. For Norris, SEEC has provided an extraordinary avenue of creating partnerships with like-minded educators interested in transforming educational programming into innovative learning. Connecting her students to possibility is what motivates Norris.

Dr. Maria Nickel

Educating since: 1997 | Title: Stem 7 & 8 Specialist Science 7 & 8

Location: Stonewall, Manitoba Canada | School: Ecole Stonewall Centennial School

Highlights: Being on CREW has impacted my teaching practice in so many positive ways- given me lifelong friends, collaboration with gifted teachers on STEM initiatives to learn and grow my craft. Six of Nickel’s space club students are part of a team of Canadian Engineering universities’ accepted by the Canadian Space Agency to build and launch a CUBE SATELLITE. Students will design, test and build one of the instruments: a Gnomon for the CUBE SAT launch date is July2023. The Cube SAT Program has allowed students to work with space engineers to solve real world problems. Created the first STEM option courses for Gr. 7 & 8 in the division. Nickel has won numerous awards such as the Prime Ministers Award National Teacher Of The Year- Science 2013, Provincial Education Award Group Collaboration- Global Trek- 2010, and Iris Cube Satellite- MB-1- Stem Specialist Ed. Outreach – K – 12 Provincial Initiative.

Mary Vaughn

Educating since: 1989 | Title: Teacher of Earth/Space Science

Location: Lithia, Florida | School: Randall Middle School

Education: B.S. Education, Oakland University, Rochester, Michigan

Highlights:  As the program director with Student Spaceflight Experiments Program (SSEP), Vaughn’s district is in its tenth year with sending experiments to the space station. A testament to her work was a recent announcement from a female student stating she will be studying aerospace engineer because of her microgravity research experience. Vaughn was awarded Space Station Explorers Exceptional Educator Award in 2022, Excellence in Aerospace Education in 2018, two Honeywell fellowships in 2010 and 2008, along with The Prism Project – Promoting Regional Improvement in Science and Math in 2010. Mary was selected to present with her students at the NASA/Sally Ride Science GRAIL MoonKam Teacher Expo in Washington, D.C., to share how the mission was incorporated in the classroom. The SEEC Crew has allowed for Ms. Vaughn to connect even more students in the district with microgravity research and to the excitement of engaging in real off the Earth science! Mrs. Vaughn’s students also are actively testing edible plant cultivars to assist scientists at NASA. The data obtained will help determine which plants will be considered for growth in future space missions. We are so appreciative of the opportunities that the Space Exploration Educator Crew has provided for our students! She was awarded Space Station Explorers Exceptional Educator Award, ISS National Laboratory,  Excellence in Aerospace, Florida Sun n Fun, and PRISM Award, Promoting Regional Improvement in Science and Math.

Maya Ghosh

Title: Middle School Science Teacher

Location: Somerset, New Jersey | School: Thomas Edison Energy Smart Charter School

Education: Working on her Master’s degree in science education from Rutgers University

Highlights: Ghosh’s students participated in Student Spaceflight experiments program where one of their investigations flew to International Space Station. TEECS students are also contributing to Globe’s El Nino campaign. She is excited to be part of the “Year in Space.” Through this program, she hopes to support teachers and students not only in her school, but also in her community as well.

Melissa Pore

Educating since: 1997 Title: Science/Engineering Teacher

Location: Arlington, VA | School: Bishop O’Connell High School

Education: B.A. in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington; Master of Education from Texas Tech University

Highlights: Pore’s teaching experience spans across Virginia, Texas, and Maryland from public to private in K-12 education. Recent experiments include DJOSpaceToast which was launched April 17, 2019 in an ELEO orbit from NG-11 on an ISS resupply mission. She was named Educator of the Year 2020, recognized by AMSAT for Contributions to Human Spaceflight in 2019, and recognized by Space Station Explorers for Contributions to the ISS National Lab in 2019.

Meredith Swartzendruber

Educating since: 2008 | Title: Honors Science Teacher

Location: Harrisburg, PA | School: Commonwealth Charter Academy

Education: Bachelor of Arts from Western Michigan University, Master of Education Wilmington University

Highlights: Swartzendruber attended Space Academy for Educators in 2009. In 2014, she attended the Advanced Space Academy for Educators and became an aerospace educator for the Civil Air Patrol (CAP). Her students have taken part in the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, where student-designed experiments were flown to the ISS. In 2016, she was awarded the Delaware State Teacher of the Year for the Air Force Association (AFA).

Michelle Mohrweis

Educating since: 2015 | Title: STEM teacher

Location: Colorado Springs, Colorado | School: Space Foundation

Education: BS in Elementary Education

Highlights: Michelle Mohrweis spent several years teaching robotics and engineering at a the middle school level, often incorporating space into their unit plans. Recently they have left the classroom, but are still involved in STEM Education as a Space Education Specialist at Space Foundation. Michelle now spends their days writing space curriculum, teaching about space engineering at local high schools, and writing books about kids who adore space. They are thankful for the Space Exploration Educator Crew, as it helped them find their love of all things engineering in space. Now they look forward to a future of building more space related curriculum and encouraging students to see the wonder of space exploration. Mohrweis has accomplished much, such as being awarded Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, 2019, and she  published a book in 2022: The Trouble With Robots.

Dr. Molly Nipper

Educating since: 2006 | Title: Gifted & Talented STEM Educator

Location: Houston, Texas | School: Bendwood School

Education: Bachelor of Science (BS), Psychology/Biology, University of Houston; Masters of Science Teaching (MST), Space Physics & Astronomy, Rice University;  Doctor of Education (EdD), Executive Educational Leadership, Houston Christian University

Highlights: Being a part of the Space Exploration Educator Crew has increased my knowledge of space science content, leadership skills, and allows me to collaborate with other passionate space science teachers to share lessons and activities. I have shared lessons with other educators as a presenter on my campus, in my school district, and with educators at the SEEC conference. As a Crew, I can give my students authentic learning experiences related to past, present, and future space exploration. Dr. Nipper has won several awards such as The B.E.S.T. Award- 2022, Wilhelmina C. Robertson Excellence in Science Teaching Award- 2021, and Campus Teacher of the Year – 2015

Nathan W. Tubbs

Title: 6th Grade Science Teacher & Middle School STEAM Coordinator

Location: Brooklyn, New York | School: PS/IS 30 Mary White Ovington

Highlights: Tubbs has participated in Honeywell Educators at Space Academy, led his students to send an experiment to the International Space Station for a six-week stay through a partnership with the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum and the Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, and currently serves as a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. In 2017, he further expanded his professional horizons by being commissioned as a first lieutenant in the United States Air Force Reserves, serving as a Chaplain at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Renée Gamba

Title: Museum of Natural History Director
Krupowicz Planetarium Outreach Coordinator/Teacher

Location: Rhode Island | School: Gaudet Middle School and Learning Academy

Highlights: An exciting educational achievement for Gamba was forging a relationship with Middletown public schools to develop and provide science instruction to students using the planetarium located in Gaudet School. She is extremely excited to participate in the Space Education Expedition Crew Program as it will provide her with professional development and resources to use in creating curriculum.

Ronda McCarthy

Educating since: 2010 Title: Middle School Science/STEM Teacher

Location: Des Moines, Iowa | School: St. Theresa Catholic School

Education:Master of Education Middle School Math and Science Morningside University Bachelor of Education Upper Iowa University Bachelor of Social Work Buena Vista University

Highlights: McCarthy attended Honeywell Educator at Space Academy, Michelson Exxon Mobile Teacher Academy, Set Sail STEM Educator Training at USNA, and STEM Teacher Extern Program. She also received the STEM Best Program Award. McCarthy was honored to receive the STEM Teacher of the Year Award by Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council for the South Central Region in 2020.

Scott Weiler

Title: Instructor of Aerospace Engineering and Robotics

Location: Las Vegas, NV | School: Rancho High School

Education:B.A. Foreign Languages from Louisiana State University; M.A. of STEM Education from University of Arizona

Highlights: Weiler was named Claes Nobel Educator of Distinction by the National Society of High School Scholars in 2019. He was also named Southern Arizona Engineering Educator of the Year by Arizona Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) in 2015. After attending SEEC for the first time, Weiler was pleased to find meaningful professional development related to engineering. He gained many ideas for ways he could add new dynamics to his classes and clubs.

Shaun Keyser

Educating since: 1991 Title: ICT Teacher

Location: Franschhoek, South Africa | School: Bridge House Prep School

Education:Higher Diploma in Education University of Cape Town

Highlights: Keyser is excited to grow his professional learning network within the “space teaching” world and become more knowledgeable in order to effectively transfer this to his students, colleagues and parents in his school and wider community. He was named a Honeywell Educator at Space Academy in 2015 and project leader for the SUN-STEP pilot project (teaching through electronics) at the University of Stellenbosch 1993 – 1995.

Stacie Pottenger

Title: Third Grade Teacher

Location: Savannah, Georgia | School: Williams Elementary School

Highlights: Two of Pottenger’s top achievements are that she recently earned her education specialist degree in leadership from Georgia Southern University and was named her school’s current Teacher of the Year. She is very excited about her upcoming “Year in Space” during the Space Exploration Educator Crew program because she will provide her students, school and community with STEM-based learning experiences that will help prepare students for 21st century STEM careers.

Terri Mynatt

Title: Teacher Kindergarten 1st & 2nd grade

Location: Venetie, Alaska | School: John Fredson School – Yukon Flats School District

Highlights: Mynatt is a fellow of Fund For Teachers, which gave her the opportunity to explore Italy and Switzerland’s educational systems. She was selected as a “The Arctic in the Classroom” teacher with ARCUS and became a GLOBE certified teacher. In both those programs, her students are given the opportunity to work with researchers. She found that she does not need to know all the information in the universe to teach science. What she needs is scientists that work with her as she works with her students.


Title: SLS (Science Learning Specialist)

Location: Miami | School: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Day School

Education: BS. Biology | Masters Instructional Technology

Highlights: Space Exploration Educator Crew has connected me with incredibly passionate and inspiring educators who remind me to keep searching for my own place in space. The Crew shares wonderful ideas and projects for my students to participate in exciting activities and lessons in meaningful ways.

Crew News & Initiatives

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