NASA's Space Center Houston launched the program in 2017 to help meet a nationwide need to prepare students for STEM careers and an equal need for extraordinary teacher leaders to inspire students.

Ascension Public Schools' Becky Fritchie, who teaches fifth grade at Spanish Lake Primary, was one of 10 educators nationwide chosen to be a 2019 Space Educator Expedition Crew Member. She attended the Space Exploration Educators Conference this month and will work closely with the center for one year.

"This is an incredible opportunity to learn from elite scientists around the world and teachers who are implementing incredible STEM related activities that encourage students to learn more about space exploration. We toured the Johnson Space Center facility and were able to connect with scientists in their programs, like the Planetary Analog - Mars Yard engineers who are building and testing rovers and vehicles for future space missions," said Fritchie. "I am excited to bring this knowledge back to my colleagues and students in Ascension."

NASA's Space Center Houston launched the program in 2017 to help meet a nationwide need to prepare students for STEM careers and an equal need for extraordinary teacher leaders to inspire students. The crew aims to empower teachers to build leadership competencies by creating innovative STEM programs for their students, schools and communities.

Since the inaugural year, an additional 10 educators have been chosen each year. Members hail from across the United States, Canada, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Crew members were awarded scholarships to attend Space Center Houston's Space Exploration Educators Conference (SEEC). 

At the SEEC conference, the crew members were tasked with performing space expedition outreach to other educators to impact students in their schools, districts, states or regions for one year. This year is called, "A Year in Space". When the year ends, the crew members will return to SEEC to share the results of their education expeditions. Through the program, crew members also have access to unique professional development opportunities, including the ability to collaborate with their regional teams and collaborate virtually with educators across the nation to enhance and expand their outreach.

Fritchie will be participating with the Harmony Crew, a group of Space Educator Expedition Crew Members from Texas and Louisiana.

For more information about the program, visit spacecenter.org/educator-resources/space-exploration-educator-crew.

Contributed by Ascension Public Schools