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Minnesota Teacher Selected as the 2021 A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Educator of the Year

Press Release From: National Aviation Hall of Fame
Posted: Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The National Aviation Hall of Fame (NAHF) announced today that Caroline Little, Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum Teacher Innovator Institute Fellow, and NASA Wearable Equipment to Avert Radiation Mentor, can now add the NAHF’s 2021 A. Scott Crossfield Educator of the Year to her impressive resume. 
 
The Crossfield Award, founded in 1986 by NAHF Enshrinee Scott Crossfield, is a juried annual competition to recognize a teacher for his or her exemplary use of aerospace in their classroom curricula. Crossfield, who was inducted in 1983, was a renowned test pilot, research pilot and aerospace researcher. His tests with pressurized suits led to the development of the space suit.
 
The successful nomination was made by Mr. Mark Westlake, Saint Thomas Academy Innovation Center Director, and an AIAA Educator of the Year. In his nomination, Westlake said “Caroline Little is a wonderful addition to the list of A. Scott Crossfield Aerospace Teacher of the Year awardees for the role she has had developing young women and men into explorers who see themselves as agents of change.” Westlake also said, “Ms. Little's passion for science and engineering education can be seen in the projects and contests she makes available for her students. Watching her sophomore students test their simulated satellite insertion device (SLED) as her team of teachers participated in NASA's Microgravity University for Educators is just as exciting as listening to a group of her top juniors make their final presentations to NASA Langley Engineers on their work to develop protective wear for astronauts during long duration Space travel.”
 
Little’s accomplishments span twenty years and include the development of complex and engaging science and space curriculum for students. She uses significant and impactful experiences to elevate her teaching for the benefit of her students. An appropriate example of this is following her 2016 participation in NASA's MgUE professional development program, which allows participants learn and experience microgravity and culminates with 5 days of intense training at Johnson Space Center.  Inspired by the experience, she became a NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge Mentor. In this role, Little led the St. Thomas Academy NASA Rover Team to become the top US High School Team in 2018/9. 
 
Dr. Ben Tierney, Former Director of Middle School & Director of K-12 Academics of Visitation School said, “Caroline teaches with a contagious and effervescent enthusiasm for science education. Everyone around her knows that she not only cares deeply for the content, but more importantly cares that her students are able to see themselves in the content, see themselves as future scientists, and know that they will always have a tenacious fan in Mrs. Little.”
 
Little has earned several honors and awards for her work with students in science and engineering. These include, in 2021, being named a finalist in the Edward C. Roy Jr. Award for Excellence in K-8 Earth Science Teaching, a National Geographic and Lindblad Expeditions Grosvenor Teaching Fellow and the recipient of an Air Force Association Educator Grant.
 
Dr. Phil Roberts, NAHF Awards Chair, said “Ms. Little’s nomination was unanimously selected for the 2021 Crossfield Award. After reviewing her extraordinary biography, previous Crossfield winners are excited and truly impressed. The addition of Caroline truly elevates an already prestigious group.”

About The National Aviation Hall of Fame- The National Aviation Hall of Fame, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, is the only Congressionally-chartered aviation hall of fame in the U.S. Based in Dayton, OH, the NAHF’s Heritage Hall & Education Center is committed to informing the public of American aviation heroes, their accomplishments, and their impact on advances in aviation from Early Flight to Space Travel. The NAHF strives to create a distinctive educational resource that will inspire future generations to appreciate our nation’s extraordinary aviation heritage through the men and women who created it.

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