The Final Frontier

More than 200 teachers from around the world took a trip of a lifetime to Honeywell Educators at Space Academy (HESA), where they were inspired to encourage their students to pursue careers and education in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Samantha Thacker – previously a teacher at Earl Warren Middle School, now teaching science at Pacific Trails Middle School – was among the teachers who participated in this game-changing experience.

Teachers were offered rigorous training and exercises that gave them insight into what it felt like to be an astronaut. These exercises included land and water survival training, interactive flight programs, high-performance jet simulation, and more. “Being at the academy made me excited to bring space science into the classroom. We are living in such an exciting time with innovations being made across the science, engineering, and technology fields. Attending the Space Academy gave me many ways to better prepare my students for careers in the STEM fields,” shared Samantha.

Created in partnership with the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC), the award-winning scholarship program was developed to help middle school math and science teachers become more effective educators in STEM. This year’s program offered two consecutive five-day programs in Huntsville, AL. To make the experience accessible, qualified teachers received round-trip airfare, tuition, and paid meals and accommodations with their scholarships. For more information on the program visit