2003 Award Reception : Barbara Morgan
Winner of the 2003 Women in Aerospace Edcator Award
An excerpt from the nomination form:
Inspiring the Next Generation of Explorers
As a pioneer in the world of education, Barbara Morgan has been on the forefront of space education for almost two decades. The culmination of her hard work was her selection in 2002 as the first NASA Educator Astronaut. Her road to this distinction was full of other seminal accomplishments.
A native of McCall, Idaho, Morgan was selected in 1985 as the backup candidate for the Teacher in Space program. Following the Challenger accident, the program was suspended and Morgan worked with NASA's Education Office, meeting with teachers and students across the country to share her space training experiences and their relevance to the classroom and America's future. In the fall of 1986, Morgan returned to teaching at McCall-Donnelly Elementary School in Idaho, but continued to travel the country in support of NASA's education efforts. Her commitment to being an astronaut remained undiminished and, in January 1998, 14 years after her first selection into the Teacher in Space Program, she was selected as part of the 1998 NASA Astronaut Candidate Class.
Following completion of Ms. Morgan's training and her assignment as CAPCOM (the Mission Control Center position responsible for communicating with the crews onboard International Space Station), NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe recognized her unique accomplishments and announced at a December 12, 2002, ceremony at the Baltimore Maryland Science Center,that Ms. Morgan would become the first Educator Astronaut, giving her a flight assignment originally scheduled for late 2003. Educator Astronauts are fully trained Shuttle crewmembers who will perform mission tasks, such as coordinating re-supply operations and spacewalks, as well as interacting from space with students to encourage their interest in science, mathematics and the space program. "NASA has a responsibility to cultivate a new generation of scientists and engineers," said Administrator O'Keefe. "Education has always been a part of NASA's mission, but we have renewed our commitment to get students excited about science and mathematics. The Educator Astronaut Program will use our unique position in space to help advance our nation's education goals," he explained. The announcement confirmed NASA's commitment to send an educator into space and a reinvigoration of the NASA mission of inspiring the next generation of explorers.
Barbara Morgan is committed and dedicated to educating, inspiring and motivating students and teachers across the nation and around the world. Her ability to excite and inspire the next generation of space explorers will be unsurpassed as she orbits the Earth aboard the Space Shuttle and the International Space Station.
With her proven track record of many years of professional experience, dedication to space education, service to her country, and commitment to public service, Barbara Morgan is an exemplary candidate for the Women in Aerospace 2003 Aerospace Educator Award.