Captain, US Navy (Retired)
Selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in May 1984, Culbertson completed basic astronaut training in June 1985. He became lead astronaut at the Shuttle Avionics Integration Laboratory (SAIL); lead of the First Emergency Egress Team; and lead spacecraft communicator (CAPCOM) in the Mission Control Center for seven missions. He flew as the Pilot for STS-38. Following his first flight, he served as the Deputy Chief of the Flight Crew Operations Space Station Support Office, as well as the lead astronaut for Space Station Safety. He was also a member of the team evaluating the hardware and procedures for the proposed mission to dock with the Russian Space Station Mir. Culbertson then served as the Commander for STS-51. Following this flight, Culbertson was Chief of the Astronaut Office Mission Support Branch; then Chief of the Johnson Space Center Russian Projects Office. In 1994, Culbertson was named Deputy Program Manager, Phase 1 Shuttle-Mir, and in 1995 became Manager of the Shuttle-Mir Program. In 2001, Culbertson flew to ISS and served as the Commander of Expedition 3. Culbertson has logged over 146 days in space.
Michelle Lucas spent 10+ years working at NASA's Johnson Space Center. First as part of the International Space Station (ISS) Payload Safety Review Panel (PSRP) and then in the Mission Operations Directorate as a Flight Controller in ISS Mission Control and as a Astronaut Instructor in the ISS Daily Operations Group. Additionally she worked with each of the International Partners (European Space Agency – ESA, Japanese Space Agency – JAXA and the Russian Space Agency) in the field of Daily Operations, Flight Controller and Instructor Training. Michelle was part of the Core NASA Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO) team for 9 missions where astronauts would carry out analog space missions underwater in the Aquarius habitat. Along the way, Michelle found she has a passion for launching the next generation's dreams and ambitions. Her passion for inspiring students led to extensive work with other organizations in STEM outreach so she founded the non-profit Higher Orbits to use space to excite and inspire students about STEM, Leadership, Teamwork and Communication. Michelle is proud to be a Space Camp Alum and member of the Space Camp Hall of Fame. She believes that collaboration in space and STEM is the key to the stars! Space Inspires!
Dr. Cheryl A. Nickerson is a Professor in the Center for Immunotherapy, Vaccines, and Virotherapy at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University. She earned a B.S. in Biology from Tulane University, an M.S. in Genetics from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. in Microbiology from Louisiana State University. Her postdoctoral internship in bacterial pathogenesis and vaccine development was done at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Nickerson is internationally recognized for her pioneering spaceflight biomedical research discoveries showing unique microgravity-induced changes in the disease-causing potential of microbial pathogens (which laid the foundation for use of the microgravity platform for modern microbiological research in spaceflight), and advances in bioengineering three-dimensional (3-D) models of human tissues for infectious disease research and drug development. Her research has flown on numerous NASA missions to the International Space Station (with two more scheduled) and has resulted in a paradigm shift in how we view the infection process from the host-pathogen perspective. For her research contributions to advance NASA’s human spaceflight program, she received the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, NASA’s Exceptional Scientific Achievement Medal, and was selected as a NASA Astronaut candidate finalist.
Jennifer’s love for space came when she imagined herself as Christa McAuliffe. She too wanted to be the first teacher in space however due to poor eyesight that dream had to be put off to the side. Instead, Jennifer has used her passion for space science by attending Space Camp and Advanced Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama where she re-united her passion for all things space. In the summer, you can find her training teachers from around the world at space camp at the United States Space and Rocket Center. In the summer 2013, she and four other teacher friends conducted a science experiment on board the Zero G plane to see how various materials cleaned up spills in microgravity. She currently teaches sixth grade science at Zuni Hills Elementary School in the Peoria Unified School District. Her motto is “Dare Mighty Things.”
Jeff Herold has been teaching since 2000 and has taught everything
from Kindergarten through 12th grade and community college. Currently,
he teaches S.T.E.M. to 7th and 8th graders at Hillcrest Middle School
in Glendale, Arizona. While not volunteering at local elementary
schools at their science nights, he enjoys paragliding, attending
professional development, and spending time with his family. His
favorite student is his 6th grade son, Skyler. Jeff is the 2015
Arizona Air Force Association Teacher of the Year and 2015 Arizona
Challenger Space Center Educator of the Year. Jeff is a member of The
Mars Generation Student Space Ambassador Planning Committee and the
Train Like a Martian Planning Committee. You can follow his S.T.E.M.
adventures on Twitter @STEMJeff.
Mesquite High School, established in 1998, is a four-year (grades 9-12) comprehensive high school located in the western part of Gilbert Public School's boundaries. It borders both Mesa and Chandler school districts and is located on McQueen Road between Elliot and Warner Roads.
Mesquite High School offers outstanding curriculum, including STEM, comprehensive fine arts and athletics programs, and a wide variety of extra-curricular activities. Over 40 sponsored clubs on campus providing an opportunity for all students to be involved in a school activity. State of the art technology, along with one-to-one Chromebook devices for all 9th and 10th-grade students, enhances students' learning, presentation, and research capabilities. The 2017-18 school year, all grades will have one-to-one Chromebook devices. Mesquite students have had a great deal of success at state and national levels in athletics, academics, and fine arts competitions.