From teacher...to rocket chaser
I began this adventure as an elementary school teacher who had great enthusiasm for everything aviation and space related. I would spend my weekends attending local air shows or making the drive to Cape Canaveral, FL to view rocket launches. My teaching position allowed me the opportunity to infuse my 5th grade language arts and social studies classroom with as much space and aviation related material as possible. I figured, if I could share my enthusiasm for the aerospace field with students, make it exciting, and connect it to learning goals, then maybe I would be able to inspire the future generation of aerospace engineers, explorers, or scientists.
I spent 5 years working in various elementary schools encouraging students to develop an interest in aerospace. It wasn't until I began working with a STEM Certified public school that I was really encouraged to integrate as much aerospace content as possible into my instruction.
The support I received on a professional level further inspired me to pursue my personal interests to continue to fill my classroom with aerospace related experiences for students. I would actively post on all school related media when rocket launches, and air shows would be occurring.
This led to applying for my first #NASASocial. I applied to be able to attend the SpaceX launch of the Dragon Capsule on a resupply mission to the International Space Station (CRS-14). Luckily, I was accepted to attend the single-day event at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. During the event I livestreamed back to my classroom while walking through the Vehicle Assembly Building, touring Launch Complex 39B, and attending the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9. When I returned to school, I was happy to learn that I had gained many new young aerospace enthusiast followers.
This one initial event that granted me so much access to facilities and field experts at Kennedy Space Center altered the trajectory for all my future goals. I was no longer satisfied with just inspiring future generations through second hand experiences. I felt a deep passion to become part of the aerospace community and collaborate with likeminded professionals, so students could get information from a firsthand account.
Since then, I have been chasing every opportunity to become a part of the aerospace community. I have regained my love for aerospace photography, collaboration with likeminded enthusiasts, and reporting on current advancements in the space industry.