Two 'Teacher in Space' Ambassadors from Windward Community College to attend August 7 launch

Windward Community College
Dr. Joe Ciotti, (808) 236-9111
Department of Natural Sciences
Posted: Aug 1, 2007

KĀNEʻOHE—Windward Community College‘s astronomy professor Dr. Joe Ciotti and Employment Training Center director Bernadette Howard are two of the original 114 Teachers in Space Ambassadors who will gather at Cocoa Beach, Florida on August 7 to watch fellow Teacher in Space, Barbara Morgan, lift-off as a crewmember on the space shuttle Endeavour. Morgan will perform various duties on the STS-118 mission including operating the robotic arm and being in charge of logistical support for moving supplies and other materials between Endeavour and the International Space Station. "We‘ve been waiting for this for 21 years," said WCC‘s Bernadette Howard, who was a community college teacher in Guam at the time of her selection and continues in her role as one of the two Guam Teachers in Space.NASA announced the Teacher in Space program in 1984 and received 20,000 applications. The Department of Education carefully examined the applications and selected two candidates from each state, the District of Columbia, Guam, the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and State Departments of Education and Defense.In 1985, Christa McAuliffe was selected as the first "Teacher in Space" with Barbara Morgan as her backup from the 114 state finalists in the Teacher in Space Project. McAuliffe, along with the rest of the Challenger crew, perished seconds after lift-off while a stunned nation, including her Teacher in Space colleagues, watched in horror. During the following years, Morgan remained working with NASA‘s education program while she was teaching. She successfully completed two years of training in 1998 to become an official member of the Astronaut Corps. She was assigned a flight and named Mission Specialist in 2002. "It‘s a way for NASA to be involved in education and to inspire youth toward space science," said WCC astronomy, math and physics professor Joe Ciotti. Ciotti is director of Windward Community College's Center for Aerospace Education, which was established to support the college‘s space science-related curriculum, Hawaiʻi Space Grant Consortium and community outreach efforts. The center includes the Aerospace Exploration Lab (a hands-on science exploratorium), NASA Flight Training Aerospace Education Laboratory, the Lanihuli Observatory and the Hokulani Imaginarium.The Teachers in Space who were involved in the inaugural program have continued to make a broad impact in their communities, states, and nationally. Designated by the NASA Administrator in June 1985 as Space Ambassadors, members of this group have been passing on their space education expertise, knowledge, resources and experiences since their first gathering in Washington, D.C. in 1985. Many have continued as exemplary classroom teachers, leaders in curriculum, school administrators, museum and planetarium directors, aerospace industry employees and creators of new statewide innovative programs. Some have continued in these roles and others are now exploring new and exciting initiatives and interests.

Some of the Space Ambassadors will be wearing replicas of the original patch issued to them in June of 1985 by NASA. An element of the original TIS Project patch, the flaming torch, is included in the STS-118 mission patch. For more information, contact Joe Ciotti until Thursday, August 2, at 236-9111.