2005 Einstein Fellow Erin Peters
Educator Erin Peters

Erin Peters served in NASA's Exploration Missions System Directorate during her Einstein Fellowship in 2005. Image Credit: Erin Peters

Describe your teaching experience before becoming an Einstein Fellow.

I have 15 years of teaching in both middle school and high school. I started in Illinois at a very small rural school (population 2,500 for the town) where I was the only science teacher. ... I then moved to the inner city schools in Chicago, where I taught high school chemistry, physics and physical science for six years. I moved back to the East Coast and taught in a high school and a middle school in Arlington, Va.

Why did the Einstein Fellow Program appeal to you?

After I completed my National Board Certification in Early Adolescent Science, I felt that I wanted to get a broader view of science education in the United States. The Einstein (Fellowship) Program gave me the opportunity to interact with educators across the United States to find out their best practices.

What was your assignment while an Einstein Fellow at NASA?

I worked in the Exploration Missions System Directorate with three programs: higher education, formal education and informal education. Since I am an educational researcher as well as a teacher, I conducted several program evaluations for the directorate's education programs. I also helped to generate ideas and give the point of view of a classroom teacher to the programs in ESMD's portfolio.

Erin Peters pointing to a projection screen during a presentation

Erin Peters is now an assistant professor at George Mason University helping prepare pre-service science teachers for the classroom and inform in-service science teachers how to use research in the classroom. Image Credit: Erin Peters

What was your major accomplishment(s) during your fellowship?

I was so fortunate to be involved in many projects; it is difficult to pinpoint one that was more important than any others. If I had to focus on one project, it would be the program evaluation I did for the Lunar Librarian program. I conducted an evaluation, taking into account all of the stakeholders, which resulted in valuable feedback to improve the program. I recently ran into one of the stakeholders at a professional conference, and they indicated that they still reference the report for program improvements.

What have you done since your fellowship, and what are you doing now?

I am now an Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology and Science Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. I accepted this position immediately after my fellowship concluded. In this position, I teach courses to prepare pre-service science teachers for the classroom and to inform in-service science teachers about how to utilize research in their classroom to improve practice.

How did participating in the Einstein Fellowship Program impact you as an educator?

I was able to gain a broader perspective of the educational landscape than I had previously as a classroom teacher. Because of my participation in the Einstein Program, I was able to have access to a network of exceptional educators (the other fellows). Since the fellowship, I have several educational research projects that involve the other fellows.

Related Resources
Lunar Librarian Newsletter   →
Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program   →
NASA Education
Exploration Systems Mission Directorate
Teachers Educating NASA
From Alaska to Antarctica

Heather R. Smith/NASA Educational Technology Services