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EGE teacher selected for NASA educator program
Mary Ruggles, fourth-grade teacher at Elm Grove Elementary has been selected to participate in a special space program designed for teachers.
In 2016, Ruggles was selected for a week-long summer program at NASA through the NASA Texas Space Grant Consortium (TSGC). The LiftOff Summer Institute is a national program that gives teachers the opportunity to increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math through space education. Each workshop is organized around an aerospace or space science theme from NASA’s engineering and research program. The institute features workshops, field investigations, hands-on learning experiences, and presentations from some of NASA top scientists and engineers. After the program educators are tasked with training other educators and sharing innovative lesson plans and ideas. This year Ruggles was nominated and chosen to participate in a summer NASA Workshop for elementary teachers in Austin.
Ruggles will have the opportunity to participate in the NASA Network of States (NoS). The NASA Network of States is specifically for elementary science teachers of grades three to five. The Train-the-Trainer Institute gives teachers like Ruggles a rare and unique opportunity to spend a week working alongside professional scientists and engineers. The program activities will align with current NASA missions and education resources to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS). NASA will also provide the teachers with training kits to train other educators.
“Mary’s commitment to share the excitement of space exploration makes her the perfect advocate for STEM education,” Margaret Baguio, NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium Program Manager of Education and Outreach at University of Texas at Austin, said. “She is helping to develop the next generation of explorers.
In addition to bringing back educational tools for her classroom and fellow teachers, Ruggles has also created a space for students at Elm Grove to explore science through the Geology and Space clubs.