Press Release

NASA Panel to Discuss How to Improve Science Education

By SpaceRef Editor
December 6, 2003
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How NASA is working with scientists and educators to improve science education will be the subject of a special panel discussion during the American Geophysical Union’s fall meeting in San Francisco.

Seven education experts and scientists including specialists from NASA, the NASA Astrobiology Institute and the SETI Institute will take part in the panel on Monday, Dec. 8, from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. PST in room 3012 of the Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco. Astrobiology is an emerging interdisciplinary field that deals with life in the universe: its origin, evolution, distribution and future.

“What we’re hoping will come out of the session is an increased awareness within the scientific community of the benefits of collaboration between scientists and educators,” said Daniella Scalice, the education coordinator with the NASA Astrobiology Institute at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and chairperson of the panel discussion. “There is an increasing impetus for scientists to get involved in education, and we’re here to guide and support them in their efforts.”

“The theme that we are building on is the fostering of a cultural shift in both the science and education communities toward greater mutual respect and collaboration – with the ultimate goal of improving science education,” Scalice said.

“Astrobiology relies on collaboration across scientific disciplines and can bring this experience to the arena of science education,” she said. “Take Project Astro, for example, which is a program run by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific in San Francisco. This program brings together teachers and scientists for one year to collaborate in whatever way they choose,” Scalice added.

“While scientists can get involved with the education community in many different ways, Project Astro models how a one-on-one professional relationship between the scientist and the educator can benefit education,” Scalice explained.

“Project Astro is about bringing astronomy into the classroom,” said Yvonne Pendleton, an astrophysicist at NASA Ames, who has volunteered with Project Astro for 10 years. Pendleton also served as the NASA liaison with the SETI Institute for its Voyages Through Time astrobiology integrated science curriculum.

Panelists in the session, “Astrobiology Education: Bridging the Gap between Scientists and Educators,” include:

  • Lisa Faithorn, a collaboration specialist with experience in bridging scientific disciplines and manager of virtual collaborations at the NASA Astrobiology Institute.
  • Krisstina Wilmoth, manager of education and public outreach at the NASA Astrobiology Institute and an education professional working with educators to improve their involvement with science and scientists.
  • Cheri Morrow, manager of public outreach at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo., who also is working with educators and scientists.
  • Joyce Stark, a high school teacher in Sunnyvale, Calif., who has worked with scientists.
  • Yvonne Pendleton, an astrophysicist at NASA Ames.
  • Edna Devore, deputy chief executive officer and director of education and public outreach at the SETI Institute, Mountain View, Calif.

More information about astrobiology is on the World Wide Web at: and

SpaceRef staff editor.