Published on Wed., August 7, 2013

NASA Stem TrainingAs the NASA Aerospace Education Services Project travels all 50 states, this August, the AESP specialists have landed at Sandusky Middle School.

Their mission: To provide teachers with useful skills on how to integrate STEM activities into their classroom lessons.

Lynchburg City Schools Education Foundation, Inc. partnered with the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority to bring NASA education specialists to Lynchburg City Schools to offer science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professional development to K-12, pre-service, and informal educators.  All of the sessions are designed with the “How” behind the “Wow” of NASA innovations.

More than 50 Lynchburg City Schools elementary and secondary teachers participated in workshops like ”Exploring our Solar System,” “Gadgets, Gizmos, & Contraptions:  Build on the Moon,” “Solar System in Your Pocket,” “How’s the Weather,” Sunny Sky Line Plots & African Safari Bar Graphs Using My NASA Data” and “Rockets 2 Racecars:  Drag Race to Mars.”

These topics were presented by NASA education specialists from the Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP), the Digital Learning Network (DLN), the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) and the Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars (LARSS) program who were present in the classroom and through virtual connection.

The Lynchburg City Schools Education Foundation, Inc. and the Lynchburg City Schools are most appreciative to John Kenney, President of Trax, LLC, for bringing this opportunity to our attention, and to the Lynchburg Economic Development Authority for advancing and sponsoring this initiative.

More info on this program:

Aerospace Education Services Project, or AESP is a NASA education project which delivers science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) professional development to K-12, pre-service, and informal educators. The project has education specialists working at all of the NASA centers across the U.S. These educators work with schools and other organizations in order to deliver professional learning opportunities through both face-to-face and virtual venues. For more information visit

NASA's Digital Learning Network™ provides science, technology, engineering, and mathematics or STEM content featuring NASA missions and research. The Digital Learning Network connects K-12 students and educators, higher education and informal education audiences with NASA scientists, engineers and education specialists through interactive technology. Register for free, interactive events listed in the catalog or watch webcasts.  For more information visit

National Institute of Aerospace is a non-profit research and graduate education institute created to conduct leading-edge aerospace and atmospheric research, develop new technologies for the nation and help inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. For more information visit

The Langley Aerospace Research Student Scholars program is a year-round, paid, research, internship program for high school, undergraduate and graduate students − pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  For more information visit:

Marilé Colón Robles
Marilé Colón Robles is an Aerospace Education Specialist with the Aerospace Education Services Project (AESP) at NASA Langley Research Center. She is responsible for professional development for pre-service and in-service teachers as well as informal educators for the states of VA, WV, KY, NC and SC. Marilé has worked as a NASA Informal Educator curating and developing content for the Hispanic Education Initiative’s bilingual website, organizing and doing teacher professional development workshops, museum events, STEM summer camps, developing interactive STEM games and has taught virtual lessons in Spanish to K-12 classrooms all over the country through NASA’s Digital Learning Network. She is also an education specialists of NASA’s Rockets 2 Racecars.

Rick Varner
Rick Varner has served as an education specialist for NASA's AESP Project for the past eight and a half years supporting educational programs from northern Virginia to Maine. During this time, Rick played a primary role in the development of educator materials and programs for NASA's Summer of Innovation Initiative and the educator events for the deployment of the Space Shuttle Orbiters Discovery and Enterprise in their current exhibits. Prior to working with NASA, Rick was a middle school science teacher and administrator in Gainesville, Florida.

Bonnie Murray
Bonnie Murray is an Education Specialist working at NASA Langley Research Center and manager of the education program for Rockets 2 Racecars. In her role there, she works to plan Teacher Professional Development, education events and new education programing. She is especially involved in the Digital Learning Network, and delivery and implementation of education resources through the DLN. ( She recently left the classroom after almost 20 years of teaching experience. Her most recent assignment was at Kecoughtan High School in Hampton City Schools. She has taught in both Pennsylvania and Virginia and has taught science at the middle school and high school level. She has worked as a regular education teacher and a special education teacher.

Becky Jaramillo
Rebecca (Becky) Jaramillo is currently serving as the Senior Educator at the National Institute of Aerospace. She holds a Bachelors of Science from Northern Arizona University and is pursuing a Masters Degree in Education Administration. In 2005, Becky received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching for her innovative teaching methods. Becky recently retired from a career as a middle school science/special education teacher and Assistant Principal in Peoria, Illinois. She continues her lifelong passion for education at NIA by facilitating workshops for educators across the country and developing award-winning STEM resources.

LARSS student intern – Adrienne Kubat
Ms. Adrienne Kubat is currently enjoying an internship at NASA Langley Research Center. She received her Bachelor’s of Arts in English at Christopher Newport University and is working towards a graduate degree through CNU’s Master’s in Teaching program. Ms. Kubat hopes to teach middle school English and to help her future students discover their own creativity and love of reading. When she is not immersed in a book herself, Ms. Kubat volunteers with afterschool programs in Hampton Roads, Virginia.

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