Local teacher back in Richmond after being selected for NASA education space program

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local teacher was one of 200 from around the world selected for a special NASA space camp program.

“Got to ride in something called the multi-access trainer which was a lot of fun, and probably was my favorite activity of the whole week,” said St. Catherine’s science teacher Katherine Mangum.

Mangum is glowing after her recent trip to the NASA space camp in Alabama. The camp is part of a program for educators across the world sponsored by Honeywell and while the pictures and videos look like fun, it was far from a vacation.

The goal of the program is to find ways to get students more engaged and encouraging them to pursue careers in science, technology engineering, and math or STEM.

“All the research is pointing to the fact that it’s critical to get our students involved in stem especially girls,” said Mangum.


According to the Department of Education, there are more than 67,000 Virginians currently working in STEM careers. There are expected to be at least 4,000 more STEM jobs available in the state in the next seven years. Mangum says when she heard about the camp she decided to apply last fall.

“I thought it was a great fit for our 5th-grade curriculum. I wasn’t doing anything with space and our girls were so inspired by hidden figures this year that I really wanted to give it a try,” said Mangum.

Mangum says she plans on having her students work on a variety of projects including building an LED flashlight and work with students across the globe.

“We’re going to do some challenges together and send videos back and forth so my girls in my 5th-grade science classes will get to meet kids from around the world,” said Mangum.

She says it’s all in an effort to expand their minds and potential possibilities using science.

“To apply these concepts in a fun and novel way,” said Mangum.

If you’re an educator and would like to apply to the program, check here.

This is a developing story. Stay with 8News online and on air for the latest updates.

Never miss another Facebook post from 8News

Find 8News on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram; send your news tips to iReport8@wric.com.