The Visiting Educators are master science
educators that routinely provide professional development training in
Earth and space science content for grade K-12 teachers across the
nation. The Visiting Educators are either from the National Center for
Earth and Space Science Education, or are NASA MESSENGER Educator
The MESSENGER Educator Fellows are
selected through a national competition to participate in the MESSENGER
Educator Fellowship Program, an initiative overseen by the National
Center for Earth and Space Science Education in support of NASA’s MESSENGER
spacecraft mission to the planet Mercury. The goal is to select 30
of the very best Earth and space science educators from across the
nation as MESSENGER Fellows, representing diverse educational
backgrounds—from formal educators at elementary, middle and high school
levels, to informal educators at museums and science centers.
The corps of Fellows trains 3,000
teachers a year on Solar System-focused lessons and content,
corresponding to 27,000 teachers trained over the MESSENGER mission
lifetime (through 2012), and translating into experiences for
potentially one million students. The Journey through the
Universe program offers one pathway for the Fellows to conduct
professional development workshops.
The Fellows are selected based on:
the depth of their experience as science educators; their philosophy
regarding science education (student as scientist and teacher as
facilitator of inquiry-based learning); their success at implementing
this philosophy in the classroom; their track record for conducting
effective professional development for teachers; their experience in
Earth and space science content; and their involvement at the local and
national level with organizations that have a vested interest in both
the content and science education.
The Fellowship competition is held
every two years. Download the most recent Announcement of
(PDF, 412 kb).
The Fellows are therefore not just
highly credentialed master science educators. They are also
representatives of a NASA planetary mission. This ensures high
quality workshops, and generates interest in your community’s teachers
to attend the workshops.
The Visiting Educators can be engaged
in your community in a variety of ways:
- The Educator Workshops are
delivered by a Visiting Educator and Visiting
Researcher team in order to provide depth of expertise in both
pedagogy and content.
- The Visiting Educator is available
for presentations to science methods classes at college and university
schools of education. Presentations can focus. e.g., on
how abstract concepts in the space sciences can be made concrete in the
- You might feel that special needs
classes would benefit more from a presentation by a Visiting Educator
with special needs experience, rather than a Visiting Researcher.
- A Partnership Workshop is co-led
by a Visiting Educator, Visiting Researcher, and representatives of the
local education community. The workshop engages local area
institutions and individuals who are interested in collaborating with
area school districts on education programs. A workshop
objective might be: to train local researchers on how to conduct
effective classroom and/or family programs in order to address Journey
program sustainability in the community.