Successful launch device lands ASU grad student in Houston

ALAMOSA – Emily Dauk is a high school math teacher in Minnesota who is working toward a master’s degree through the Adams State Endeavor STEM Leadership Certificate program, a partnership with NASA and the ASU Teacher Education Department.

Dauk challenged her Mankato, Minnesota students to build a mechanism that could launch a mock satellite. Led by Dauk and her colleague, Eric Koser, the students achieved success and the Kato Launch Squad was invited to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in March to demonstrate their experimental device.

“My students and I had the opportunity to participate in NASA’s Microgravity University for Educators at Johnson Space Center,” Dauk said. Last fall she worked with a group of students and teachers from her district in Minnesota to submit a project proposal and were one of 10 teams selected from across the nation to participate.

The project was a full integration of all STEM disciplines as students had to design and build a Satellite Launching Experimental Device. “Students also developed a public outreach plan so we could share the experience with as many people as possible,” Dauk said. The culmination of the project was four students and two teachers from the team, including Dauk, who spent a week at Johnson Space Center testing their device, touring the NASA facilities, and learning directly from NASA experts.

When considering a master’s program, the STEM Leadership Certificate joint program seemed the best fit for Dauk. “I did a lot of searching for a program with a connection to high school math that would also allow me to continue to teach full time and to continue being a part of the extracurricular activities I was involved in at my school. The most important requirement of any master’s program was that it would help me become a better math teacher.”

Two areas emphasized within Dauk’s Master of Arts program include STEM integration and connecting with students and community. “This project was a combination of each of those.  Each of the STEM disciplines was required as the team designed, built, and tested their device.  In addition, we were also required to develop an outreach plan about how we would share this experience with the community. As we developed this plan we examined which modes of communication would be the best to reach our students and community members.  We also looked at which events we could put on after our week at Johnson Space Center that would engage our community.  It was very neat to see multiple components of my ASU coursework come together within a single project.”

Dauk enrolled in the Adams State program in the fall of 2017 and will complete her degree in the spring of 2019. “I have very much enjoyed the flexibility of the program. It is not easy to complete a master’s degree while also teaching full time, but the online program that Adams State provides makes it possible.”

While in Houston, the students and teachers from Mankato visited the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility as astronauts showcased their training.

Caption: Adams State Teacher Education master’s student Emily Dauk and her Minnesota high school students were invited to NASA Johnson space center in Houston, TX, after completing a challenge to build a device that would launch a mock satellite. Pictured, left to right, back row, Sam Preis, Matt Preis, Ben Koser, and Eric Koser; front row, Morgan Brooks and Emily Dauk./Courtesy photo

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