Pre-Service Teacher Institute


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The Pre-Service Teacher Institute workshop held Dec. 14-18, 2014 helped education majors improve their knowledge and teaching skills.
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› PSTI Gallery Archive


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Pre-Service Teacher Institute Overview

PSTI, Pre-Service Teacher Institute The NASA Marshall Space Flight Center/Oakwood University Pre-Service Teacher Institute, or PSTI, is a one-week residential institute for college students who are preparing to teach in an elementary or middle school.

The program is designed to increase students' skills in teaching mathematics and science while incorporating technology in the curriculum. This is achieved through the development of a problem-based learning, or PBL, space exploration theme. Each student is assigned to an Institute Flight Team. Students develop a lesson that they teach to children from a local school, and also teach in an elementary/middle school when they return home. One major goal is to transfer this experience and acquired knowledge into useable lesson plans for teaching science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.


-To model and practice the use of problem-based learning.
-To learn to apply modeling and simulation as instructional tools for teaching science and math.
-To develop hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) learning activities correlated to National Standards.
-To enhance the awareness of pre-service teachers about NASA and other STEM teaching resources.


To apply for this fellowship program all applicants must meet the following requirements:
-Be a U.S. citizen.
-Have a cumulative grade point average of 2.5 or higher.
-Be a full-time, rising junior, senior or graduate* student at an NCATE-accredited minority institution.
-Be an elementary education or middle school education major.
-Have successfully completed at least one mathematics and one science course with a grade of "C" or better.
-Be in continuous attendance for the full one-week program.
-Have the recommendation of a science or mathematics professor.

* Graduate student must not hold an undergraduate degree in early childhood or elementary education.

Application Procedures

Application deadline has been extended to June 19, 2015
Application Form (updated May 19, 2015) 

Complete the application in its entirety. Please type or print all information in blue or black ink. Return the completed application along with the required essay/writing sample, official sealed transcript from all colleges/universities attended, current resume and letters of recommendation.

Application Checklist
A complete application includes:
-Application form.
-Two letters of recommendation. (One must be from a mathematics or science teacher.)
-Current official sealed copy of your transcript.

A well written essay of two to four pages addressing experiences that have led you to want to pursue a career in teaching, how the PSTI relates to your teaching goals, and what about NASA interests you.

Completed packages should be sent to the following address:
Ms. Ivy Starks, PSTI Site Manager
Oakwood University
7000 Adventist Blvd.
Huntsville, Ala 35896

You will receive notification, via e-mail, that your application has been received. A current e-mail address must be listed on your application. The Institute is not responsible for incorrect or missing e-mail addresses.

Candidates will receive notification of acceptance for PSTI 2015 via email.

Participants must show a current US driver's license upon arrival.

Direct inquires to:
Ms. Ivy Starks, PSTI Site Manager
Oakwood University
7000 Adventist Blvd.
Huntsville, Ala 35896
Phone: 256-520-3771
Email: starks@oakwood.edu

Participant Information


Transportation costs will be reimbursed to participants from city of residence to Huntsville, Alabama. Students must make their own travel arrangements.

Air Transportation: Students traveling more than 400 miles from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center may fly and will be reimbursed, for actual costs, up to $400. If the amount exceeds $400, the participant is responsible for any costs over that amount. (Students should plan well in advance and reserve airline tickets early for the lowest fares.) The airport code for Huntsville is "HSV."

Ground Transportation: Students traveling between 50 and 400 miles from NASA Marshall Space Flight Center are expected to use ground transportation and will be reimbursed at the rate of .41 cents per mile, up to $200. The project will not reimburse for personal travel while you are in Huntsville. AMTRAK train service is not available in Huntsville.

Transportation information, along with directions to and a map of Huntsville, may be found at: http://www.huntsville.org/ (select Maps & Transportation from the menu).


Housing is provided by Oakwood University at the beautiful West Oaks Apartment Complex, http://www.oakwood.edu/ou-life/residence-halls/west-oak-apartments . Please view a list of the policies that govern the complex. The apartments are triple occupancy (three separate bedrooms) and are equipped with a desk, chair and a chest of drawers. Each room has cable and telephone hook-ups and Internet access.

The commons area (living room) includes a sofa and chairs, and the full kitchen is equipped with a refrigerator, stove and microwave.

The West Oaks Club House, located in the apartment complex, includes a wide screen television and comfortable couches.


What to Bring
-Bed linens for a long twin-sized bed (including pillow and blanket).
-Towels and wash cloths.
-Cookware and cooking utensils.
-A positive attitude!

What to Wear

Bring comfortable clothing including jeans and sneakers. Please do not wear shorts, halter tops or mini skirts. Capri style pants are acceptable. A sweater or light jacket may be needed. Bring professional attire for the closing ceremony and banquet. Closed toe and closed heel shoes must be worn on all tours and simulators.

Rules and Regulations

-Participants will attend all sessions. The schedule is intense, and punctuality is crucial to the smooth flow of activities.
-Individuals will be charged for any loss or damage to the residential facilities and equipment. There will be a $25 fee for lost or unreturned keys.
-Students will not be permitted to remain after the checkout date. Provisions have not been made for overnight guests.
-Students must complete all forms and return them before or during registration day.
-Security badges must be worn at all times while at NASA.
-All required instructional supplies will be provided in the classroom. Each group will be given a monetary supplement, if needed, for the final presentation.



The Institute provides a generous support package to include the following:

-$500 stipend for those who completely fulfill all requirements of the Institute.
-Travel reimbursement. (See Transportation)
-Transportation to and from training sites.
-Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be provided. The campus is
  located near many restaurants.
-Resource materials, including binders, videos, DVDs, books, supplies and lesson plans, will be provided.

Frequently Asked Questions

Read over this list of Frequently Asked Questions regarding to the PSTI project.

Academic Program

The PSTI staff and NASA education specialists will guide participants through a wide range of learning activities designed to model inquiry based learning in mathematics and science and the effective use of technology in teaching and learning.

Participants will visit and train at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the NASA Educator Resource Center.

Participants will be divided into project groups for designing and presenting lessons.
› 2015 PSTI Flier [1MB PDF file]


Program Date -- July 26-31, 2015, Marshall Space Flight Center

Daily Schedule
The day at the Institute will begin at 7:00 a.m. and typically end at 6:00 p.m. CDT. However, flight teams generally work together in the computer labs after 6:00 p.m. Classes are held on the campus of Oakwood College, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and at the NASA Educator Resource Center.

Students should plan to arrive to check-in and register on July 25, 2015 from 7:00-9:00 p.m. CDT.


Marshall Space Flight Center
Dr. Susan Currie, Project Lead
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center
Academic Affairs Office

Oakwood University
Ms. Ivy Starks, Site Manager
Oakwood University
7000 Adventist Blvd.
Huntsville, AL 35896

Workshop Presenters

Amy McDowell, Aetos Systems Inc.
  Education Specialist
Kat Balch, Aetos Systems, Inc.
  Education Specialist
John Weis, Educator Professional
  Development Specialist

Page Last Updated: May 19th, 2015
Page Editor: Sandra May