Cobb teachers to take flight as NASA astronomy ambassadors

by Kristal Dixon, AJC

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Four educators in the Cobb County School District will have an opportunity to explore the earth’s stratosphere when they join NASA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program.

Berkil Alexander and Philip Matthews of Kennesaw Mountain High School, Nikki Besesi of Hillgrove High School and Season Stalcup of Wheeler High School will participate in the 2019 installment of the program.

The Cobb school district is one of 14 systems in eight states that have teachers participating in the initiative, which helps educators improve teaching skills and increase student engagement in the STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, fields.

Participating teachers will receive training in astrophysics, planetary science content, and the study of the practice of teaching.

Training will include a week-long trip at NASA’s science research aircraft facility in Palmdale, California. Teachers will also have a chance to conduct research flights on NASA’s SOFIA, a Boeing aircraft used to conduct astronomic observations.

“We are so proud of the teachers that were selected to be a part of the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors Program,” said Christian Cali, the district’s science supervisor. “Their experiences flying into the stratosphere on NASA’s SOPHIA will provide Cobb students with a chance to make real-world connections with the concepts they are learning in the classroom.”

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