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Glenn Education - Chris Hartenstine
July 17, 2013

Chris Hartenstine

Job Title:
Senior Project Coordinator, Education Support Services

What that means:
Coordinate NASA-themed educational activities and events

What I do:
I make NASA science and missions fun and easy to understand for students of all ages.

The most interesting part of my job is:
I like the challenge of coming up with something new.  When NASA presents new science or a new mission, I like to see how I can take the high-tech language and translate it for students and the public to understand.

My favorite project that I have worked, or that I am working on, is: 
Along with other team members in the Educational Programs Office, I designed and created 12 education demonstrations to be used in Informal settings like science museums.  The first set of six, built in 2008, were general space-themed activities and have been used in 7 states to inform an audience of more than 100,000.  We just completed the second set, specific to NASA Glenn research, and hope to present them to audiences just as big.  It was great to see something go from an idea in my head to a real workable demonstration.

The accomplishment that I am most proud of is:
Getting to ride on a Microgravity flight to collect G-Force and heart rate data for a high-school experiment.

A Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education helped me by: 
Getting to understand the world and the Universe in a much deeper way.  The interconnectedness of all science and mathematical realms is just awe-inspiring to me.  I appreciate looking at a working system and understanding why things are designed and built the way they are.

Good advice for students, including STEM students, is:
Understand that no question in this Universe has one absolute right answer.  Everything is open for debate, interpretation, and a deeper understanding than we have today.  At one time in history, it was “absolute truth” that the Sun circled the Earth.  Further exploration and understanding of science helped us to see it was the other way around.

How do you "dream big”?:
I look beyond what is considered “good enough”.  I always try to find ways to up-size things.  How can we explain this concept better?  How can this activity be more fun?  How can more people get involved?

Who inspires you to "dream big”?:
 I am inspired by the astronauts of the 1960s that did brave and amazing (sometimes crazy) things to push exploration forward.  They did their jobs well and never gave up, despite enormous obstacles and challenges.  I owe it to them to continue their story to the next generation.

What do you do to inspire others to "dream big”?: 
I share my passion and enthusiasm for science with the students and the public.  I want our Nation to see STEM literacy in the same way we see reading literacy.  Everyone should learn how to read, and everyone should know how to “do science”.  My job will be complete when I never hear anyone say “I’m horrible at math,” or, “I’m no good at science.”  I think I still have some work to do.

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Chris Hartenstine
Chris Hartenstine
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Page Last Updated: August 21st, 2013
Page Editor: David Mazza