The LPI Education and Public Outreach team, in collaboration with strategic science and education partners,
makes current Earth and planetary science content available to formal and informal science educators
through a diverse portfolio of training programs and resources infused with research-based best practices.
Through our efforts, we strive to foster lifelong learning and a commitment to science by the public
in our local community, region, and nation.
Meet the Staff
Amanda Smith Hackler
Dr. Amanda Smith Hackler is currently the Education and Public Engagement Manager for the Lunar and Planetary Institute. In her capacity, she oversees LPI's extensive education and public engagement portfolio, intended to increase interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields among educators, students, and the general public. Previously, Dr. Hackler was the Head of Career Development and Outreach for the National Space Biomedical Research Institute (NSBRI), and an Assistant Professor at Baylor College of Medicine's Center for Space Medicine and School of Allied Health Sciences. Prior to her work with NSBRI, Dr. Hackler served as the Senior Education Project Scientist for the NASA Human Research Program Education and Outreach project at Johnson Space Center (JSC). Additionally, Dr. Hackler worked for the Aerospace and Biotechnology Academy at JSC, supporting an array of K-12 and undergraduate STEM educational initiatives, and the Reduced Gravity Student Flight Opportunities Program. As well, Dr. Hackler has served as a Review Committee Member for the Nike Jordan Fundamentals foundation, and as a Rice University Civic Scientist. Dr. Hackler received her bachelor's and master's degrees at Texas Tech University, and graduated from the University of Alabama with her doctorate in higher education, where her research focused on retention in STEM fields among underserved and underrepresented students. She's also a graduate of Harvard University's Management Development Program.
I joined the LPI education team in October 2005, after spending 16 years in the planetarium field. I currently supervise day-to-day operations and coordinate LPI's formal education efforts. I am the principal investigator for the Sustainable Trainer Engagement Program (STEP) , and lead a number of teacher professional development programs. I also help with our informal and outreach programs. It is very rewarding to be part of such a talented team, bringing Earth and space science to educators and our community.
Shupla, C. et al (2012) Engaging and Supporting Culturally Diverse Audiences, Communicating Science, ASP Conference Series Vol. 473, Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Shupla, C., Shipp, S. (2012) Menu of Opportunities for Scientist Involvement in Pre-Service Science Teacher Preparation, presented at the 43rd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX.
Shupla, C., Shipp, S., Allen, J, Tobola K. (2011) Lessons Learned: Best Practices in Educator Workshops, presented at the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX.
Shupla C. et al (2010) Bring NASA's Year of the Solar System into Your Programs, Connecting People to Science, ASP Conference Series Vol. 247, Astronomical Society of the Pacific.
Shupla, C. et al (2010) Institutes for Faculty Instructing Future Teachers, presented at the 41st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, The Woodlands, TX.
My first experience with planetary science education came as a graduate student at the University of Arizona, where I was a member of the education and public outreach (E/PO) program for the Mars Phoenix mission. I graduated from the University of Arizona with a master’s degree in Teaching and Teacher Education with a minor in Planetary Science. After graduate school, I taught high school physics and Earth and space science for one year before coming to LPI.
At LPI, I lead both lunar and Mars education efforts, including E/PO for the ChemCam instrument onboard NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. I am the E/PO lead for the LPI-JSC led Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE). I also lead LPI’s Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series and Sky Fest programs.
Shaner, A., Koenig, M., and Williams, M. (2015) Interpreting the moon through a global celebration: International Observe the Moon Night, Legacy, National Association for Interpretation, 26(3), pp. 12–14.
Shaner, A. J., Allen, J. S., Shipp, S. S., Kramer, G.Y., Nahm, A., Balazs, L., Fuller, J., Newland, J., Snyder, R.D., Kring, D. A. (2014). Exploration of the Moon and Asteroids by Secondary Students (ExMASS): An Authentic, Open-Inquiry Research Experience for High School Students, presented at the American Geophysical Union's 2014 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 2014.
Shaner, A. J., Shipp, S. S., Allen, J. S., Kring, D. A. (2011). Moon 101: Introducing Students to Lunar Science and Exploration, presented at the American Geophysical Union's 2011 Fall Meeting, San Francisco, CA, December 2011.
Kring, D. A., O. Abramov, M. G. Galenas, K. H. Joy, G. Y. Kramer, C. N. Mercer, A. L. Nahm, T. Niihara, T. Öhman, J. F. Rapp, A. J. Shaner, S. Simmons, M. B. Weller, and O. L. White (2011). Lunar Analogue Training at Meteor Crater, AZ & the San Francisco Volcanic Field, AZ (Field trip guide), O. Abramov (editor), 113 p., Lunar and Planetary Institute contribution 1618, Houston, TX.
I have been with the LPI since September 2010. I assist with all the administrative duties for the education team, and serve as one of the primary contacts. I assist with the coordination of meetings, purchasing, and agreements. I also support the team in the preparation of workshops, acquisitions, and shipping of materials, and am the liaison between our team and other departments. I enjoy working with everyone on the education team and am excited about my contribution to the team’s space science goals.
In November 2009, I joined the LPI as the Program Coordinator for the Center for Lunar Science and Exploration (CLSE) team, which is one of the seven teams comprising the NASA Lunar Science Institute. Today, I provide programmatic support for LPI initiatives including scientific and educational funding activities and dissemination of scientific and educational news to the broader planetary community.
When I went to college, I couldn’t decide whether to study space science or film. I don’t think that is a situation too many people find themselves in, but everyone has choices to make, and eventually I chose space science. After a year and a half, I missed film so much that I switched majors, and received my bachelor’s degree in Radio-Television-Film two and a half years later. Now life has finally come full circle, and I am working as the multimedia specialist at LPI! I get to combine both of my interests by helping share space science with others through the use of multimedia.
I work with graphic design, photography, web design, videos, and interactive elements. There are so many outlets these days and ways to reach the public that there is plenty of need for art in the science community, and what a great community it is. The whole team here is fun to work with, and it’s a delight to help put their ideas into the public’s hands.
I am a neuroscientist researcher by training, and from 2004 to 2010, I managed various aspects of NASA’s domestic and international space life sciences research program. During my management experience, I realized how difficult but essential it is to communicate space scientific and technological information to people of all ages and to truly engage them in the excitement of space exploration. My goal since 2010 has been to find motivating and novel ways to inspire people about space, focusing on increasing scientific knowledge and the ability to use this knowledge creatively. Most recently, I have led the Humans in Space Youth Art Competition, an international project to inspire youth to think about and creatively communicate their visions of the future of human space exploration.
McPhee, J.C. (2013) Engaging the World in Dialogue About Space: Humans in Space Youth Art Competition, 64th International Astronautical Congress, Invited Talk at International Academy of Astronautics "Academy Day", Beijing, China.
McPhee, J.C. (2013) Engaging The World In Dialogue About Space: 2012 Humans In Space Youth Art Competition. 44th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, in "Improving the Public Understanding of Science in the Next Decade", The Woodlands, TX, USA.
McPhee, J.C. (2012) 2010 International Humans in Space Youth Art Competition, 63rd International Astronautical Congress, IAC-12-E1.8.4, Naples, Italy.
McPhee, J.C. (2011) International Youth Art Competition, Keynote Speaker "Connection Through Collaboration" Workshop, National Human Health and Performance Center, NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, CA, USA.