Press Release

NASA Selects Educators for the Structure and Evolution of the Universe Educator Ambassador Program

By SpaceRef Editor
December 11, 2003
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NASA has selected 14 highly skilled educators for the
agency’s Structure and Evolution of the Universe (SEU)
Educator Ambassador Program. The educators will work with NASA
program and mission specialists to investigate the most exotic
forms of energy and matter in the universe.

The NASA SEU Educator Ambassador program, led by Professor
Lynn Cominsky and Dr. Philip Plait at the Sonoma State
University, Education and Public Outreach Group, Rohnert Park,
Calif., is starting its third year. The program has expanded
to include 23 highly qualified teachers. They will help
develop educational material for grades 6-12, based on the
science behind several NASA missions and programs. Many
ambassadors have won state and national awards, including the
Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science
Teaching.

The SEU Educator Ambassadors will test the material in their
classrooms and then distribute it to other teachers nationwide
through workshops at the state, regional and national levels.
The NASA missions and programs supporting the ambassadors are
all funded by NASA’s Structure and Evolution of the Universe
theme area. SEU seeks to explore and understand the dynamic
transformations of energy in the universe, the entire web of
biological and physical interactions that determine the
evolution of our cosmic habitat. The SEU Educator Ambassadors
will directly inspire a new generation of explorers,
scientists and engineers.

“This is a great way to teach kids and their teachers about
fascinating topics in high-energy and gravitational wave
astronomy,” said Cominsky. “It’s a perfect marriage between
the scientists and engineers who are designing, building and
doing research with NASA satellites, and professional
educators who are best suited to getting the information to
students and other teachers.”

Training for the teachers includes a 10-day intensive seminar
at Sonoma State and Stanford Universities to immerse the
educators in high-energy and gravitational wave astronomy.

“The workshop will be tough, but fun,” Plait said. “We’ll be
talking about a lot of things in which most people are
interested: huge black holes, warps in space-time, exploding
stars and vast explosions that can fry a whole planet. Kids
love this kind of stuff, and it’s this type of science that is
done in the SEU theme.”

During the program, SEU Educator Ambassadors will work closely
with the scientists involved with several NASA missions and
programs, including the Gamma-ray Large Area Space Telescope;
the Swift mission, which will observe gamma-ray bursts; XMM-
Newton, a joint NASA/European Space Agency (ESA) observatory;
the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna, another joint NASA/ESA
observatory; the Galaxy Evolution Explorer, which will map the
history of star birth in the Milky Way; Astro-E2, a joint
mission between Japan’s Institute of Space and Astronautical
Science and NASA; and NASA’s High Energy Astrophysics Science
Archive Research Center.

The 14 educators chosen as new SEU Educator Ambassadors are:

Jeffrey Adkins, Deer Valley High School, Antioch, Calif.; Dr.
Tom Arnold, State College High School, State College, Pa.;
David Beier, Lee’s Summit R-7 School District in greater
Kansas City, Mo.; Deanna Duncan, the School for Environmental
Studies, Concord, N.C.; Mandy Frantti, Munising Public
Schools, Munising, Mich.; Walter Glogowski, Ridgewood High
School, Norridge, Ill.; Bruce Hemp, Fort Defiance High School,
Fort Defiance, Va.; Ellen Holmes, Fairmount Elementary School,
Bangor, Maine; Erich Landstrom, Boynton Beach Community High
School, Boynton Beach, Fla.; Janet Moore, the Challenger
Learning Center of Central Illinois, Bloomington, Ill.; Cheryl
Niemala, Cascade Christian Schools, Puyallup, Wash.; A. Marie
Pool, Clinton High School, Clinton, Okla.; Linda Smith,
Paulsboro School District, Paulsboro, N.J.; and Pamela
Whiffen, Palo Verde Middle School, Phoenix.

For more information about the NASA SEU Educator Ambassador
program, visit:

http://epo.sonoma.edu/ambassadors

For information about NASA education programs on the Internet,
visit:

http://education.nasa.gov/

SpaceRef staff editor.