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For release: 10-18-04
Release #: 04-250  

NASA to host educator workshop at Marshall Center Oct. 22-24

A group of educators who applied in 2003-2004 to join NASA's Astronaut Corps will visit the Marshall Center Oct. 22-24, to participate in the Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers workshop, or NEAT — an organization of outstanding teachers with a keen interest in space.


Thirty educators who applied in 2003-2004 to join NASA's Astronaut Corps will visit NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., Oct. 22-24, to participate in a workshop celebrating the unique connection between space exploration and the American classroom.

The three-day workshop is among the activities planned for educators invited to join NASA's new Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers, or NEAT — an organization of outstanding teachers whose abiding, keen interest in space and recognized leadership in the classroom spurred them to apply for the Astronaut Corps.

The visiting teachers, participants in NASA's Educator Astronaut Program, were among the final group of contenders vying for three openings in the 2004 astronaut class. The program, initiated by NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe in 2003, recruits K-12 educators for the Astronaut Corps. The goal: helping those educators give students nationwide a better understanding of the value of math, science and engineering studies, and exposing young people to career opportunities available in the U.S. space program.

"Today's classrooms have tomorrow's explorers," said Dr. Adena Williams Loston, NASA's chief chief education officer. "We are looking to use the teaching skills of these educators to inspire students and to share with them the Vision for Space Exploration" — NASA's bold initiative to return Americans to the Moon and send robotic missions to Mars and elsewhere in the Solar System to prepare for eventual human journeys beyond near-Earth space.

All NEAT participants remain eligible to compete for future Educator Astronaut openings, provided they remain active in the classroom.

NEAT workshop participants will tour the Marshall Center and mingle with members of NASA's newest astronaut class. Loston will welcome attendees at a reception Friday evening, Oct. 22, and will address the group the following morning during a breakfast at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville. NASA administrators and personnel will discuss NASA's mission and lead seminars on innovative teaching techniques.

The Network of Educator Astronaut Teachers was developed as a result of the overwhelming number of nominations — more than 8,800 — received by the Educator Astronaut Program in 2003.

"These are some of the most talented, committed teachers in the nation," said Tammy Rowan, a NASA education specialist at the Marshall Center. "It's our intent to keep them engaged with NASA, and to keep the value of space exploration front and center in their classrooms."

The NEAT component of the Educator Astronaut Program will focus on those teachers who were among the final candidates considered for the Astronaut Corps this year. NASA kicked off the program in June, bringing 160 of the applicants to a workshop at Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas.

NASA seeks to foster excellence in science, math, technology and engineering education for America's next generation of explorers. The Office of Education provides students and educators with unique teaching and learning experiences as only NASA can. Working collaboratively with NASA's Mission Offices, programs and personnel, the Office of Education promotes education as an integral component of every major NASA research and development mission.

For more information about the NEAT program and other NASA education efforts, visit:

http://education.nasa.gov

For more information about the Educator Astronaut Program, visit:

http://edspace.nasa.gov

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