Center Snapshot - Rudo Kashiri
Rudo Kashiri. Image above: Rudo Kashiri talks with local high school students on career day at NASA Langley's Reid Conference Center. Credit: NASA/Sean Smith

By: Denise Lineberry

Rudo Kashiri appreciates the sounds of the beach after being born in Zimbabwe, a land-locked country. She enjoys sharing stories with military personnel in this area about living overseas.

Kashiri also enjoys her position at NASA Langley as an Explorer School coordinator for a five-state region, which includes North Carolina, South Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky. She is employed by Oklahoma State University and serves as a liaison between NASA and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).

Off the clock, Kashiri coordinates some exploring of her own. “I have visited South Africa, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi, Ethiopia, Canada, England and Germany,” she said.

She considers Ghoba, Ethiopia, the most interesting place she has visited. “I spent three weeks there doing mission work with other members of Bethany United Methodist Church in Hampton,” Kashiri said.

Her graduate education and her career in education began in the state of Georgia. Kashiri earned her Masters in Education from Georgia State University and became a National Board Certified Teacher in Early Adolescence Science.

“I began my teaching career in 1980 in the DeKalb County schools system in Georgia, teaching physical science, earth science and biology for 10 years,” Kashiri said.

After 10 years of teaching students, she began teaching teachers. Kashiri developed and presented physics and aerospace programs for K-12 teachers. “I was an instructor and curriculum reviewer for Science Engineering Mathematics Aerospace Academy,” she said.

Her first position at NASA was as an aerospace education specialist. “One of my most memorable assignments was assisting in developing and presenting curriculum for STS-118, the first flight of educator astronaut Barbara Morgan in August of 2007,” Kashiri said.

She has been a part of NASA Langley’s Office of Education for four years.

“I enjoy educating the community about aerospace and the technology coming out of NASA and inspiring the next generation of explorers. I strongly believe that all children can learn when different instructional methods are used,” Kashiri said.

Kashiri is passing on her positive education to others because “I was fortunate to have good teachers who always told me that I can accomplish anything I wanted to do and also reminded me that hard work always pays off.”

Kashiri reaches out well beyond a five-state region. She takes encouragement and opportunity back to her birthplace. “I am the founder of the Alec Mathias Chibanguza Scholarship Fund (AMCSF), a program benefiting academically talented, highly motivated students who have demonstrated financial need, leadership potential and social commitment,” Kashiri explained. “This scholarship fund is in honor of my father, who was secretary of education for United Methodist schools in Zimbabwe and had a lot of influence to the young people in Zimbabwe.”

Kashiri follows in her father’s footsteps and, maybe one day, her children or her granddaughter will follow in hers.

“I have two wonderful children who are my pride and joy. Both are college educated and doing well,” Kashiri said. “And I love spending time with my granddaughter.”

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