Group From Limestone Attends NASA Institute

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 2:15pm

Limestone Professor Dr. Shelly Meyers and a group of six others from the College recently attended a week-long NASA Educator Institute at the Langley Research Institute in Hampton, Virginia.

The institute, presented by Texas State University, is geared for K-12 pre-service teacher candidates.

“The primary goal of this institute was to utilize NASA's unique assets, resources and Subject Matter Experts to provide a high quality learning experience for undergraduate and alternative route STEM pre-service educators,” said Dr. Meyers, who serves as Limestone’s Director of Teacher Education and is the Chair of the Division of Education and Physical Education. “We are quite proud to be the first institution in South Carolina to be named to the Rising Star Network through the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research.”

Joining Dr. Meyers, who served as the faculty sponsor, were pre-service teachers Tessa Faucette, Allyson Malone, Janna Pearsall, Jillian Suarez, and Brooke Zimmerman, along with recent Math Education graduate Robert “Skyler” Elliott.

During the institute, the group visited several locations inside Langley, including Mission Control for the International Space Station; The Gantry, where crash testing and landing maneuvers are studied; a large wind tunnel; and the hangar adjacent to the Air Force base where space and other aircraft are housed and serviced. During those stops, the participants were able to speak with NASA engineers who work in each of the facilities.

“We attended a Modern Figures panel of three minority female engineers, and they shared their stories and their work at NASA,” Dr. Meyers noted. “Throughout the week, we were educated about the GLOBE project, Mars expeditions and preparation for human missions, the process of model building and testing, and the partnerships NASA has with other aeronautics entities. We also learned that NASA has many resources for teachers to integrate into their classroom practice. Our students were able to utilize these resources when they partnered with Teacher Candidates from other institutions to teach a lesson at Carver Elementary School in nearby Newport News, Virginia.”

The Limestone team began pre-institute professional development in February and will now complete post-institute professional development.

Texas State University has a three-year, $3 million cooperative agreement with NASA to present the annual summer institutes. The group from Limestone was accepted as a part of a grant that covered the majority of its expenses.

Funding from NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) provides the opportunity for Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) to participate in the five-day MUREP Educator Institutes at each of the 10 NASA Centers. Institutes are comprised of student-centered classroom activities that utilize NASA assets and resources and will help educators develop instructional practices that will enhance Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) instruction for all students.

Accompanying photo: (left to right) Robert "Skyler" Elliott, Jillian Suarez, Janna Pearsall, Dr. Shelly Meyers, Tessa Faucette, Brooke Zimmerman, and Allyson Malone.