What do you do?
Jami Sunkel

     Where do you work and what is your title?
        I work for the Space Foundation as a space education specialist. The Space Foundation is helping to build the next generation of space leaders and improve the overall quality of education through teacher, student and community programs that use space themes to improve students’ interest and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

      What do you do there and/or what are you responsible for?
       I am responsible for a broad range of the Space Foundation’s educational programs, including managing and teaching graduate courses for teachers from around the nation; leading field trips using our Science on a Sphere; visiting classrooms – in person or virtually – to deliver space-themed lessons to inspire youth in scientific exploration; and coordinating, advising and managing our Teacher Liaison program.

      How long have you been doing this kind of work (total)? How long on the Westside?
      I have been in education in one form or another for almost 10 years. I have been working here on the Westside for two years.

      What do you like best about it (other than quitting time)?
        I love teaching and learning about space to inspire the next generation of explorers. Space inspires curiosity on a platform like no other. Space is about ideas, discovery and innovation.

      If you could change one thing (other than pay), what would it be?
       I would like to take our education programs to an international market. I get to support students and teachers from around the globe virtually, but I really want to go to schools and inspire the Mars generation.

      What part of your work did your training/education never prepare you for?
       The Space Foundation has state of the art technology. We have 3D printers, Lego Mind Storms, Science on a Sphere and launch software that I wasn’t familiar with until I started working for the Space Foundation. We are constantly advancing our programs and developing new teaching approaches to STEM education. We are always in development and building new programs to keep up with current space missions to educate the next generation of explorers.

      What makes working on the Westside special?
       The Westside is an incredible place to live and work. The easy access to the mountains and the community make this area a very special place to spend my life

      “What do you do?” is a regular feature in the Westside Pioneer, geared for people who have interesting jobs on the Westside but don't necessarily live here. If you or someone you know seems like a good fit for this column, please give us a call at 471-6776 or e-mail editor@westsidepioneer.com.

(Posted 7/20/15; Opinion: What Do You Do)