An out-of-the-world experience: Pender County science teacher is selected to be a NASA space ambassador

Cape Fear Middle School teacher Penny Wolff has always loved space and science, and that’s why she decided to apply for the N.C. Space Education Ambassadors program.
An out-of-the-world experience: Pender County science teacher is selected to be a NASA space ambassador
Published: Nov. 3, 2022 at 10:42 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -Space is our future: that’s what Cape Fear Middle School Teacher Penny Wolff tells her science students. Her love for science, space and even nature started when she was just a young girl.

“I’m actually from Florida, grew up just a little north of the Cape. Seeing rockets go off was just a regular thing,” said Pender County teacher Penny Wolff who was selected for the NASA N.C. Space Ambassador program.

Seeing them regularly is where her love for space started, but when Penny heard about N.C. Space Education Ambassadors program sponsored by NASA she knew she had to apply.

“I was like wow, I’m going to try for this, so I filled it all out, wrote up my little story, and sent it off and they let us know earlier this fall that we had been selected,” said Wolff.

She was nothing but over the moon with a blast of emotions when she read that she was accepted, and she was even more excited when she learned about where she would be going during the program.

“I cannot wait to see the Langley research facility, I’m totally intrigued as to what we will find there,” said Wolff.

Wolff is one of 16 STEM educators chosen from across North Carolina.

“It’s a prestigious program because our goal is to ensure that we have geographical representation across our state, our goal is to select teachers from across the education districts,” Associate Director for NASA and NC Space Grant Jobi Cook said.

With her love of space, Wolff was excited to learn she would be developing a curriculum to get NASA’s educational programs into her very own classroom.

“I want to encourage students to realize that they can reach for the stars both figuratively and literally, I also want them to know that NASA is an obtainable job and goal that they can have right here in Pender County,” said Wolff.

While she is usually the one teaching, Wolff is ready to head back to the classroom.

“I love it, it’s just amazing. I love listening to them and taking it all in,” Wolff said.

It’s back to suiting up as a student and getting ready to blast off to help the future generation understand the importance of space.

During the summer, Penny will live one of her dreams and get to visit the space station at NASA Langley Research Center in Virginia, where she will learn from NASA scientists, engineers, and education specialists.