Educators Join the Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum

By James Thieman, Troy Cline, and Elaine Lewis

Troy Cline (left) and Elaine Lewis (right) bring their
educational expertise to SECEF as the newest members of its staff.

The Sun-Earth Connection Education Forum (SECEF) ( is a NASA-sponsored organization established to use the latest results from NASA’s Sun-Earth Connection Science theme to improve science education and awareness in classrooms and in the general population. SECEF has two new staff members with strong, interesting education backgrounds: Elaine Lewis and Troy Cline. Both Elaine and Troy are of great value to the SECEF effort.

Elaine began her education career in 1980 as a sixth grade elementary school teacher. She continued her education and by 1985 had a Master’s degree in curriculum development from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland. She wrote for a textbook company during the summer and also enjoyed working with students as a naturalist at Irvine Natural Science Center in Baltimore. She continued studying science and began teaching eighth grade science in Prince George’s County, Maryland, in 1986. Between 1986 and 1990 she received a second Master’s degree in administration and supervision. Elaine worked as the science chairperson within her school, led many national and local workshops for educators, and won a number of grant proposals. In 1990 she received the county award for Outstanding Secondary Science Teacher of the Year and the following year the Presidential Award nomination for Maryland for Excellence in Teaching Science.

In 1996 she was offered an opportunity to work in the Education Office at Goddard Space Flight Center. Between 1996 and 2000 she worked on many existing programs and created new initiatives. Elaine also developed processes and practices by which the work of the NASA Office of Space Sciences education organization can be linked with the mainstream of the NASA Center Education Offices and the Headquarters education function. SECEF was fortunate to be able to hire her to work within the forum after she had served as the liaison between SECEF and the education programs office.

SECEF also welcomes Troy Cline, a science and educational technology specialist. Before coming to Goddard Troy was a high school mathematics teacher and educational technology coordinator at an alternative high school in Virginia, working with at-risk students. During that time he also completed a Master’s degree in educational technology and leadership at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C. His undergraduate degree was in education with a strong focus on science and mathematics.

Prior to working in Virginia, his teaching career took him to some exceptional places, beginning with his first teaching experience on the Navajo Indian Reservation in Kinlichee, Arizona. While there he taught in a Bureau of Indian Affairs boarding school for three years. He later joined the United States Peace Corps and served in Chad, Africa, as an algebra and geometry teacher. That experience teaching in Africa involved living in a mud hut and teaching over three hundred Chadian students in a classroom made of elephant grass. At that time the Chadian government was attempting to create a stabilized educational system so that as the country became more developed, an effective structure would already be in place.

SECEF is a partnership between Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and the University of California, Berkeley. The GSFC effort is managed within NSSDC and the Space Science Data Operations Office.

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Author: Miranda Beall
Curator: Natalie Barnes
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
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