Wednesday, March 14, 2012
IPAC Astronomy Lunch Seminar
NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassadors and Educators: Volunteer Networks as Communities of Practice
Kay Ferrari, JPL
NASA depends on the efforts of several volunteer networks to help implement its formal and informal education goals, to disseminate its key messages related to space and Earth science missions and to support broad public initiatives. Volunteer networks provide the agency a low-cost way of engaging students, teachers and the general public in communities across the country and a method of distributing STEM educational products to broader audiences. The oldest and most established of NASAs highly leveraged networks are the Solar System Ambassadors (SSA) and Solar System Educators (SSEP) programs run by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Kay Ferrari, Coordinator for the Solar System Ambassadors program since 2000 and the Solar System Educators program since 2003, will discuss the history of these respected networks and how SSA and SSEP as communities of practice have evolved through the years. She will describe the goals and accomplishments of each and what its like to work with a nationwide network of space enthusiasts.