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1188 (Special Edition)||Listen to the show!|
|Aired on July 10th, 2009|
|Guest: Maria Catalina|
|Guest: Maria Catalina. Topics: The Astronaut Teacher Alliance, Atacama Desert in Chile, Teachers in Space, inspiring and motivating students. Maria Catalina was our guest for this Space Show program to discuss The Astronaut Teacher Alliance (TATA), Teachers in Space, and some of the exciting projects TATA is developing with teachers, and students of Chile near the Atacama Desert. This is the program to listen to if you want to know how to reach students, inspire and motivate them, and even get them to respect their teachers, and actually pay attention. Maria is a San Diego Middle School teacher. She has done the Zero G flights, received several NASA awards and tells how this space connection makes a difference with students that might typically be lost in the system. We also discussed projects that TATA is working on in Chile with the U.S. Embassy in Santiago, and with schools around the world as well. We talked about issues facing California public education, education policies and as you will hear, we got some questions from California teachers asking our guest how they might incorporate space teaching in a less than encouraging teaching environment. A listener in the UK sent in a few questions with an interest in seeing TATA come to the UK to which Maria responded and offered to do a teacher training for the next ISS EarthKAM mission. www.earthkam.ucsd.edu. Another listener asked about the level of interest in space in the Native American community and in tribal colleges. We talked about “Education 4 Your Earth’s SpaceGeneration” (EYES), the NASA ISS EarthKam program, Teachers In Space, and much more. Our UK listener even asked about the Colbert Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) on the TATA website, www.gotata.info that happened when Maria was the first ever K12 teacher to command a rotation at MDRS. She talked about the invitation sent by Commander Catalina to Stephen Colbert on April 1, 2009. The actual link for the Colbert MDRS is www.spaceportacademy.org/colbertmarsdesertresearchstation. Early in the show, a listener asked Maria if she could compare and contrast teachers in Chile with teachers in the States regarding their interest in space, their willingness to teach space to their students, and how to do the same with students in Chile as well as the United States. You will not want to miss what Maria said in response to this question. Toward the end of the program, I asked Maria what kept her going, what inspired and motivated her since progress might seem very slow, even frustrating within the school system and the New Space community. Don't miss her response! We talked about the impact parental pressure might have on a school or school system that was not teaching or incorporating space in the classroom. Maria thought that if parents made their wishes known about how their students, who are members of the Earth’s first Space Generation, repeat the sentiment of students in the early 70’s, school officials would take note and change might take place in view of solid quantitative data revealing the striking increase in student achievement during that time. So listeners, how do we get the parents in all types of schools to show an interest in their space generation and make sure they communicate that interest to not only the teachers, but indeed the school administration and especially the board of trustees in school districts around the country? We should definitely be implementing outreach programs to the parents as well as to the teachers and the school officials. Maria Catalina will be running an exhibit booth at the NewSpace 2009 Conference at NASA Ames from July 17-20 for The Astronaut Teacher Alliance. If you attend the conference, make sure you meet with her and talk about these interesting and important issues and how you can get involved. If you want to email or contact Maria, please do so using firstname.lastname@example.org.|
|About our guest...|
Maria Catalina became a space enthusiast during junior high school when the Eagle landed on the Moon in 1969. Dreams of making medicine on the Moon, from plants used by the Mescalero Apache (her maternal ancestors), faded when her Home Economics teacher laughed at the idea. She said, "The closest you will ever get to chemistry is to make a good jar of jam, and the closest you will ever get to NASA is to wish upon a star." She wished upon the star in the middle of the Belt of Orion, but left school after 10th grade After enrolling in the University of California in 1994, as a sophomore, Maria won a NASA Fellowship – the NASA Specialized Center of Research Training in Exobiology Fellowship. Her research involving the origin of DNA received one of six awards in a graduate student competition at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Earning a BA in Bionomy (2000) with high honors, she deferred an invitation to the first NASA Astrobiology Institute PhD program with a Sloan Fellowship for a middle school math and science teaching credential to have the schedule of her high school sons and be sure they graduated. Now, Joey is an Aero Space Engineering senior at Cal Poly, Niko will be doing Mechanical Engineering at San Jose State and Mike graduated from High School. Since her credential in 2002 she was nominated for NASA Educator Astronaut in 2003, published Native American Science, won the AAAS Best Science Lesson award, is a Honeywell Educator Scholar, an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship finalist, and took the weightless flight. Maria is now a middle school teacher of math and science, a JPL NASA Solar System Ambassador and on the Board of Directors for the National Space Society San Diego Chapter.
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