Denise Minor, a science teacher at Henry Clay High School (Fayette County), is among 28 teachers chosen for the 2019 NASA Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors (AAA) program, a professional development program for high school science teachers.
The program, which is managed by the SETI Institute, is designed to improve science teaching and increase learning and STEM engagement in selected school districts through professional development. Participants receive training in astrophysics and planetary science, content and pedagogy. Their training includes a week-long immersion experience at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Hangar 703 in Palmdale, Calif., with participation in research flights onboard NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA).
After their flights, educators teach a two-week physical science curriculum module created by the SETI Institute that focuses on the electromagnetic spectrum using SOFIA science examples as illustrations. WestEd education consultants assess the impact of the specialized curriculum module on student STEM learning and engagement.
Minor is in her 14th year at Henry Clay High School, where she teaches Advanced Placement Chemistry, advanced chemistry and general chemistry. She has been with Fayette County schools for 19 of her 23 years in education.