NASA Selects Sandra Bickerstaff to be an “Agent of Change” for STEM Education

Friday, March 11, 2011

Sandra BickerstaffSandra Bickerstaff, a native of Detroit, Mich., has worked as a lecturer in Felton Laboratory School since 2007. She was recently awarded an Endeavor Fellowship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).  Initially at a loss for words and smiling from ear to ear, a very humble Bickerstaff was surprised. "I was reminded of the magnitude and weight of the call to teach and inspired beyond words to exercise its privilege to the farthest reach of its capacity,” said Bickerstaff.


While surfing the internet for professional development opportunities, Bickerstaff stumbled upon the Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project (ESTCP). The ESTCP provides live, online training for K-12 educators working to earn a Certificate in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education from Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, N.Y.


Endeavor Fellows engage with education experts, NASA scientists and other participants to carry back to the classroom a greater understanding of NASA discoveries and to impact student learning in real-world contexts, inspiring the next generation of explorers, scientists, engineers and astronauts.


“Through Endeavor, educators learn how to deliver and integrate cutting-edge science, engineering and mathematics into the classroom, promoting STEM education,” said Shelley Canright, K-12 outcome manager for education at NASA Headquarters, Washington, D.C. “This includes proven NASA and NASA-sponsored educational resources to meet specific learning goals of the 21st Century.”


The program also helps teachers change their practice as they learn to blend engaging content and methods for more effective instruction. NASA is also working with state departments of education toward partnerships that will help ensure program participation is credited towards state certification requirements.


The project has been designed and is administered by U.S. Satellite Laboratory Inc. of Rye, N.Y. Funding for the program is provided through the NASA Endeavor Teacher Fellowship Trust Fund, in tribute to the dedicated crew of the space shuttle Challenger.


For additional information about the Endeavor Science Teaching Certificate Project and other NASA education programs, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/education.