Science Teacher Selene Willis Awarded Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship with NASA

by: Rachel Barrett, Director of Marketing and Communications
Shorecrest fifth grade Science Teacher Selene Willis is one of 18 K-12 STEM teachers in the US to be named a 2021-2022 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow. She and her fellowship cohort will spend 11 months in Washington, D.C. serving in a Federal agency or U.S. Congressional office engaged in national education initiatives.

Ms. Willis has been selected to work with the NASA Science Mission Directorate Science Activation program. 

The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 STEM educators to apply their extensive classroom knowledge and experiences to their host offices to inform Federal STEM education efforts.

“This is an opportunity of a lifetime!” says Willis. “Social Justice and STEM education are very important to the work I do in the classroom. I want to learn as much as I can while I am in Washington, D.C. so that I can continue to encourage and empower Shorecrest students who wish to pursue STEM in their future.”

Selene Willis joined Shorecrest in 2014 teaching fifth grade science. She has a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Virginia Tech, and a Master of Science Education from Pace University. Mrs. Willis is pursuing a Doctorate in Science Curriculum and Instruction at the University of South Florida. She is in the final stages of completing her dissertation titled, “Teaching Science for Social Justice: Curriculum, Pedagogy, and Critical Science Agency in Independent School Classrooms.” 

The 2021-2022 Einstein Fellows come from K-12 schools across the country and represent diverse teaching backgrounds—with expertise in science, engineering, computer science and mathematics. Federal agencies and U.S. Congressional Offices will benefit from Fellows’ real-world experiences as educators. In return, Einstein Fellows will gain understanding of the role of the Federal Government in the U.S. education enterprise, knowledge of resources available to students and educators, and broader perspectives on national education issues that can be applied to the classroom or to leadership positions.

The AEF Program, now celebrating its 31st year of operation, is managed by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Science’s Office of Workforce Development for Teachers and Scientists in collaboration with the sponsoring agencies and the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE).

Sponsoring agencies for the 2021-2022 Einstein Fellows include DOE, the Library of Congress, the Department of Defense, the US Geological Survey, the Smithsonian Institution, the Department of Interior, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. In addition to sponsoring placements at DOE headquarters, DOE sponsors five placements in U.S. Congressional offices.

Learn more here.

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Shorecrest Preparatory School is a private, non-sectarian, coeducational, college preparatory day school for students preschool through high school, located in St. Petersburg, Florida.