NASA Pre-Service Teacher STEM Program Intern Sherri Mitchell
Astronaut Scott Kelly and Sherri Mitchell

Student Ambassador Sherri Mitchell met astronaut Scott Kelly at the STS-127 Pre-Launch Education Forum. Image Credit: NASA

In which NASA student opportunity project did you participate, and how did you get involved in it?

I participate in the NASA Pre-Service Teacher STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) Program. My first summer at NASA, I was assigned to help with student projects and the coordinator of PSTSP invited me to participate in the PSTS Institute. I enjoyed it so much and learned so much that they decided to put me on the team. My mentor is Dr. Paula Tucker-Hogan, the director of the program. She has given me the opportunity now to serve as the program's Informational Coordinator. We have just recently finished yet another successful institute.

Explain the research you conducted through your NASA involvement and why this topic is important.

We, the NASA Pre-Service Teacher STEM Project staff, believe that it is important to adapt our student curriculum to the students of the next generation, while engaging them in STEM. We research the needs of those students and teach our prospective teachers how to meet the needs of the next generation through inquiry and standards-based lesson plans.

What has been the most exciting part of your research?

The most exciting part of my project is that I know I'm doing something that will benefit the next generation of explorers. I have a rare opportunity to implement a plan to inspire young scientists and engineers of the future.

What is your educational background, and what are your future educational plans?

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in elementary education and an emphasis in Pre-K-6 from Old Dominion University in Hampton, Va. I plan to graduate with my Master of Science degree in education in December of 2009.

What inspired you to choose the education/career field you did?

I love children, and I wanted to make a difference in their lives. It wasn't until I came to NASA that I knew just how big a difference it would be.

What do you think will be the most important things you’ll take away from your involvement with NASA?

(I will have) the confidence to make a difference in the lives of the children of our future.

How do you think your NASA involvement will affect your future?

I think my NASA involvement will set me apart from other educators, and I know that I can bring exciting, new ideas to my team of professionals for effective collaboration.

What are your future career plans?

I plan to embark into the classroom as an ambassador for NASA and then maybe return to NASA and bring my classroom experiences back to improve NASA's education program.

What advice would you have for other students who are interested in becoming involved with, or working for, NASA?

My advice to other students would be to be persistent and patient. Continue to push until you get where you want to be. NASA has numerous opportunities, but you have to work hard to achieve success.

How might you expect to contribute as a NASA Student Ambassador?

I would like to be responsible for getting the word out to younger students about the programs that NASA has in place to make them successful.

Related Resources:
> NASA Student Ambassadors
> NASA Pre-Service Teacher STEM Program
> NASA's Langley Research Center
> NASA Education