Group From Limestone To Attend NASA Institute

Monday, February 12, 2018 - 2:00pm
NASA Institute

Limestone Professor Dr. Teresa White and a group of four Education students from the College were recently awarded a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Educator Professional Development Collaborative grant.

The grant will allow White and the students to spend five days at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia this summer. They will take part in various activities designed to assist educators in enhancing their Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) instruction.

This will be the second consecutive year that Limestone will be represented at the event. The institute, presented by Texas State University on June 4-8, is geared for K-12 pre-service teacher candidates.

The Limestone students attending include senior Stephanie Beltran, juniors Bailey Rose Hammonds and Chadya Smith, and sophomore Hailey Cleary. White will serve as the faculty sponsor.

White said this year’s application process was very competitive and gave the students involved a sense of anticipation and excitement.

“We wanted it to feel like an earned celebration,” White noted. “For the students, their process was an essay, an application, and then a wait period. It heightened their desire to go, and once we submitted everything to NASA, we were notified within a couple of weeks. We all found out by email and the students were so excited. They couldn’t be more eager to go.”

The group will spend five full days at Langley, with the grant paying for lodging, food, and an additional $500 stipend for each student.

“On average, students in the United States are struggling with math and science,” White said. “This will help prepare our teachers in those curriculum areas. I hope that, if any of our teachers have any fear about teaching science or mathematics, it will create a passion around that. Whatever we learn, it will not just be for the five of us, because we will share it with colleagues and teachers so that many more can benefit from the experience.”

Texas State University has a three-year, $3 million cooperative agreement with NASA to present the annual summer institutes.

Funding from NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) provides the opportunity for Minority Serving Institutions 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 to help educators develop instructional practices to enhance STEM instruction for all students.

“This is very significant for Limestone,” White explained. “We’re preparing our teachers for the 21st century. We understand that STEM is everywhere, but often there is a gap in these areas between genders and ethnicities. As a college, we want to focus on STEM and try to solve a real social issue. It’s critical that we prepare our teachers to help the next generation of innovators."