February 22nd, 2018 – Students aren’t the only people at Huber Heights City Schools earning special honors. Kurtz Miller – a physics teacher at Wayne High School – is receiving special honors and national recognition from NASA.
Miller is now serving as a NASA Solar System Ambassador. He was named to the program at the beginning of 2018 and is already comfortable with its responsibilities. “It includes participating in teleconferences, keeping up with astronomy and space news, and sharing information with public audiences,” says Miller.
“NASA has a volunteer program through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California,” he said when asked about more background on the program. He also says participants include, “volunteers, including educators and those involved in museums and nonprofits, [who] share NASA’s mission.”
Miller recalls he found out about NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program by being connected to the right people at a previous job while serving as the high school science curriculum specialist for Dayton Public Schools. Miller says a factor that helped his application was his presentation about the Great American Eclipse of 2017 at the Wright Library in Oakwood.
NASA’s Solar System Ambassador program is the latest way Miller is connecting with his love of astronomy. Miller holds that viewing Haley’s Comet when he was seven years old was the catalyst for his science career. “That inspired me to pursue amateur astronomy as a high school student and later become a high school science teacher. For me, teaching is another way to share my interests with my students instead of becoming a scientist,” says Miller while reflecting.
Since then, his science career has come full circle and expanded to areas outside of astronomy. “I’ve previously worked as an educational consultant and served as an active duty officer in the Navy. I’ve also published numerous book chapters, papers, abstracts, and have delivered quite a few professional presentations,” remarks Miller very matter-of-factly.
Being named a NASA Solar System Ambassador is only the start. Miller already has plans for how he wants to share astronomy information with the general public. “I’ll be giving two talks this year at Wright Library in Oakwood: one is in May and the other is in September. I’ll probably also be presenting at a teacher’s conference sharing NASA missions and how to integrate them into high school science curricula,” he says of his upcoming schedule.
For Kurtz Miller, the NASA Solar System Ambassador program is just another way for him to share his enthusiasm about science with the rest of the world. “I especially love sharing my passions for astronomy, space science, and the geosciences with my students as well as the general public,” he said.