NASA GSFC Code 662
Greenbelt, MD 20771
Sarah Eyermann is an Education and Outreach Specialist for the Astrophysics Science Division (ASD) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. She started this position in early 2008, immediately after graduating with a Master's degree in physics and astronomy from the University of Missouri, Columbia, otherwise known as Mizzou. Prior to graduate school, she earned a Bachelor’s in physics from the University of Missouri at Rolla (now known as Missouri School of Science and Technology), while also receiving minors in math, computer science, and philosophy.
At GSFC, Sarah spends much of her time working on curriculum development and educator professional development for various educational programs, and she acts as the primary point of contact within the Astrophysics Science Division for all informal education efforts. She has run workshops for both formal and informal education audiences ranging from 45 minutes to several days on a variety of programs and topics. Her biggest responsibilities have included serving as the project lead for Afterschool Universe, a traditional-style afterschool curriculum, and Big Explosions and Strong Gravity, a day-long event originally developed for Girl Scouts. Both of these informal education programs ultimately help middle school students learn about the universe outside the solar system. She has also been involved with the curriculum expansion effort for NASA Family Science Night, an informal education program for families to engage in science together, and has been been heavily involved in the Space Forensics project, which includes classroom lesson plans and online interactive games that draw parallels between the process of astronomy problem-solving and crime scene forensics. All of these programs are described below.
For her efforts on these projects, Sarah was awarded the 2011 NASA Robert H. Goddard Exceptional Achievement Award in Outreach for her leadership and coordination of the Afterschool Universe program during its development and dissemination. In addition she was awarded a 2009 NASA Public Service Group Achievement Award for "dedication and innovation in bringing NASA into the lives of thousands of individuals who might not otherwise be engaged in space science" as a member of the Afterschool Universe team.
Afterschool Universe is a curriculum developed for use in afterschool programs, summer camps, and other out-of-school-time venues. It explores basic astronomy concepts through engaging activities, with a focus on the Universe outside the solar system, introducing topics of great interest not typically studied in school. Developed by the Astrophysics Science Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Afterschool Universe was successfully pilot tested in 2006 and 2007, and has since been implemented around the country (and in a few others). All activities are real world, not virtual, and materials are low-cost and reusable. An in-depth manual provides detailed recipes for running program sessions, and supplementary resources are available to facilitators through the website. Additional content for this program is actively being created.
Big Explosions and Strong Gravity (BESG) is a highly successful informal education program which began in 2004 in cooperation with the Girl Scouts of Central Maryland. In a one-day event, girls explore the science behind supernovae and black holes with hands-on activities tailored to the middle school level. Whenever possible, professional scientists, engineers, post-docs, and graduate students assist with these activities, giving the girls a chance to interact with real professionals in science and technology fields. Though BESG was initially created for Girl Scouts, the individual activities are appropriate for a much broader variety of out-of-school settings and group, and the program resources are available to anybody.
NASA Family Science Night (http://universe.nasa.gov/family/) encourages families to explore various themes through hands-on activities about science in the world (and the Universe!) around them. Topics include size and scale, maps and models, reasons for the seasons, life cycles of stars, lunar exploration, solar power, eclipses, engineering, and more!
Space Forensics (URL coming soon!)
See how STEM disciplines come together to explore exploding stars, hidden black holes, and more. This project takes students in formal and informal education settings through astronomy problem-solving narratives that parallel crime scene forensics. Each standards-aligned Space Forensics case fuses STEM and literacy, using mystery narratives and hands-on activities to take students through the process of understanding and solving the case. Space Forensics offers classroom lesson plans and online interactive games that combine storytelling and science.
Krishnamurthi, A., Lochner, J. C., Conaty, C., Eyermann, S.E., Ferrell, T., Gliba, G., Griswold, B., Masetti, M., Mitchell, S.E., Reddy, F., Toth, T., & VanDoren, A. “Using IYA to Bring the Universe Down to Earth in the Metro DC Area” ASP Conference Series Vol. 431: Science Education and Outreach: Forging a Path to the Future (2010): 363-367.
Krishnamurthi, A., Eyermann, S. E., Mitchell, S. E., & Lochner, J. C. “Afterschool Universe: Bringing Astronomy Down to Earth” ASP Conference Series Vol. 400: Preparing for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (2008): 415-421.
Eyermann, S. E., Hornschemeier, A., Krishnamurthi, A., Feaga, L. “Big Explosions and Strong Gravity: NASA/Girl Scout Project Searching for Nationwide Partners” ASP Conference Series Vol. 400: Preparing for the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (2008): 204-206.