MAR 14, 2022 10:00 AM PDT

2022 NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Selectees

NASA’s SETI Institute has selected a total of 24 teachers from 13 states as 2022 NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAAs), which includes teachers from middle schools, high schools, and community colleges. AAA teachers will receive training in astrophysics and planetary science, which includes a week-long trip at a NASA astronomy research facility such as the Infrared Telescope Facility (IRFT) on Mauna Kea in Hawaii or the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) based in Palmdale, California. Upon completion of their training, the AAAs will then teach a physical science curriculum module created by the SETI Institute that is aimed to connect curriculum concepts to NASA-enabled research.

The 24 teachers selected as 2022 Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors include:

Leilani Ancel, Fort Zumwalt East High School, O’Fallon, Missouri
Heather Anderson, Fort Zumwalt West High School, O’Fallon, Missouri
Tanya Anderson, St. Joan of Arc School, Lisle, Illinois
Katherine Auld, NorthWest Arkansas Community College, Bentonville, Arkansas
Teresa Cobble, Lovinggood Middle School, Powder Springs, Georgia
Amy Dennis, Sylacauga High School, Sylacauga, Alabama
Ann Marie Dubick, Campbell Middle School, Smyrna, Georgia
Kerem Ekinci, Harmony Public Schools, Houston, Texas
Sean Ellison, Norwood-Norfolk High School, Norwood, New York
Dawit Hailu, Anne Arundel Community College, Arnold, Maryland
Thomas Herring, Western Nevada College, Carson City, Nevada
Lucy Howlet, Colorado SKIES Academy, Englewood, Colorado
Raquel Jarabek, Minneapolis Community & Technical College, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Cody Kennedy, Castaic High School, Castaic, California
Dustin Lengning, Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School, Castaic, California
Jennifer Muir, Draper Park Middle School, Draper, Utah
Diane Ripollone, Cardinal Gibbons High School, Raleigh, North Carolina
Sherry Rogers, Dodge City Community College, Dodge City, Kansas
Tyler Ryan, Sierra High School, Manteca, California
Yolonda Simon, Little Elm High School, Little Elm, Texas
Joseph Wagner, Eads High School, Eads, Colorado
Diallo Wallace, Tarbut V'Torah Community Day School, Irvine, Calfornia
Eric Wegryn, Ohlone College, Fremont, California
James Young, North Valleys High School, Reno, Nevada

“This powerful STEM program will allow the SETI Institute to continue bringing NASA science into classrooms across the country,” said Dr. Dana Backman, AAA program lead. “These teachers will use their professional development and STEM immersion experiences to convey real-world content to their students that illuminate the value of scientific research and the wide variety of STEM career paths available to them.”

AAA teacher training includes blended-learning professional development comprised of webinars, asynchronous content learning, and a hands-on curriculum workshop; a STEM immersion experience at a NASA astronomical observatory facility such as SOFIA (Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy); ongoing participation in the AAA Community of Practice, connecting participants with one another and astrophysics and planetary science subject matter experts after their program-based training is completed.

Since 2011, the NASA-funded AAA program has impacted tens of thousands of students throughout the country through the experiences and training of their teachers and is one of ~30 awards to U.S. organizations competitively selected by NASA under the Science Activation program.

Sources: SETI

MS in Geological Sciences
Laurence Tognetti is a six-year USAF Veteran who earned both a BSc and MSc from the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University. Laurence is extremely passionate about outer space and science communication, and is the author of “Outer Solar System Moons: Your Personal 3D Journey”.
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