Rachael Manzer was featured on the cover of the September-October CEA Advisor. She is one of seven teachers nation-wide selected as the first astronaut-teachers to participate in the nonprofit Teachers in Space program.
Manzer, a science teacher in Suffield, will be contributing a few posts to BlogCEA. Use this opportunity to leave a comment and ask her a question about her experience and how she’s incorporating it into her teaching.
Below Manzer answers the question, When did you find out you were selected for the Teachers in Space program?
I found out I was selected toward the end of May 2009. I was at school between classes checking my email when I saw I had an email from Ed Wright, Program Director, concerning Teachers in Space.
Having just gone through a series of interviews, I quickly opened the email. That is when I saw I was selected as an Astronaut Candidate.
I was so excited that I was jumping up and down exclaiming “I MADE IT! I MADE IT!” until I realized my colleagues were looking at me strangely.
As I continued to read the email, it stated that I would have to keep the news quiet until it was announced at the press conference on July 20, 2009. I did inform my immediate family and the school administrators.
This was the hardest secret I have had to keep.
Now that it’s official, what’s the next step? By the way, I am so happy for you!
I should have known you’d wind up in space eventually! Congratulations! I can’t believe it’s been six years since I was actively involved in the SSEP and NES programs, but it has been. I ran into several SSEs at the NSTA national conference this spring (I was presenting on a project my students and I have been working on). Some of us had dinner together, including Julie Taylor, Martin Horesji, Kay Ferrari, and others. I also ran into Eric Brunsell at the conference, and went to some sessions presented by Leah Bug (now doing work for SETI/astrobiology at Penn State) and Ota Lutz. I’ve just started teaching at Walden School of Liberal Arts in Provo, Utah where I will be teaching chemistry, astronomy, and multimedia. It’s great to be back teaching science again! Please let me know more about your training and everything else you’ve been up too – it looks like you’ve had an amazing six years!
– David V. Black
Former SSE and NES Educator Facilitator