STEM Education Archive

Alan Ladwig - Author, Part Two

February 12, 2020 @ 8:39 am

In this episode:

We continue our conversation with Alan Ladwig, the author of “See You in Orbit? Our Dream of Spaceflight.” Between 1981 and 1990, Alan held a variety of positions at NASA Headquarters, including Director of Special Projects for the Office of Exploration and Manager of the Shuttle Student Involvement Program. Alan was also Manager of NASA’s Space Flight Participant program in the 1980s, which included the “Teacher in Space” project, most famously known for its selection of Christa McAuliffe as the first teacher and civilian to be chosen to participate in spaceflight.

In this second part of our conversation, Alan discusses how Russia played an early role in paving the way for civilian passengers to travel to the International Space Station, the plans that four companies currently have to develop commercial space stations for civilian use, how the arts are regarded within the space community, and how the prohibitive cost of space travel hinders the democratization of space.

In discussing how high costs prevent more access to space, Alan said, “We want space to be an environment that is experienced by a wider range of people. Not just scientists, engineers... Not trained astronauts and cosmonauts, but people from all walks of life. Because … space is just an extension of who we are.”

For more information on Alan and his current pursuits, visit his website at, and visit his Facebook page to view his space-inspired artwork. Alan’s book is available for purchase at

Click here for Part One of this conversation.

Filed under Space, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA · Comments

Duane “Digger” Carey – Former NASA Astronaut, Part One

January 8, 2020 @ 11:56 am

In this episode:

We meet former NASA astronaut Lt. Col. Duane "Digger" Carey, USAF (Ret.), and current owner of One-Eighty Out, Inc. Among Digger’s accomplishments was piloting the Space Shuttle Columbia on the STS-109 mission to service the Hubble Space Telescope in 2002.

In part one of this two-part conversation, Digger talks about his humble beginnings as a kid who grew up in the housing projects of St. Paul, Minnesota, disliking school and how, against those odds, he transformed himself into who he is today. He also discusses how, during his years motorcycling and train-hopping across the country, he became inspired to pursue a college education so he could join the U.S. Air Force — setting into motion the events that led him to become an astronaut.

Citing the importance of confidence and determination in the pursuit of achieving one’s goals, Carey says, “The whole philosophy has to be: You see something you want to do, and you go after it, and if people laugh at you, or think that you’re not very smart, or think that you’re unprepared — let them laugh and stuff like that, because you’re going to show them in the long run, because you’re never going to give up.”

To learn more about Digger’s current efforts with One-Eighty Out Inc., visit the website at  or Facebook page at

Filed under Space, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education, NASA, Astronaut · Comments

Ashlie Smith - Physical Science Teacher

September 5, 2019 @ 9:33 am

In this episode:

We meet physical science teacher, Ashlie Smith from Cranbrook Kingswood Middle School for Girls. Ashlie was the recipient of the 2017 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award, as presented by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Space Foundation. 

Ashlie is also a member of the Space Foundation Teacher Liaison program, a group of extraordinary educators who use space-related education programs and principles in the classroom to act as advocates for space-based education in their schools and districts. 

Ashlie tells us about her teaching style and how she strives to show young women the amazing careers and opportunities available to them in the space and science industries. 

Filed under Space, Back-To-School, aerospace, Space Foundation, Space4U, STEM Education · Comments

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