The National Space Club Florida Committee recently presented Diane Matthews, International Space Station (ISS) U.S. National Laboratory education project manager, with the committee’s Space Worker Hall of Fame award in recognition of her exceptional promotion and advocacy of spaceflight education.
Matthews, who has been part of the ISS National Lab education team since 2011, was responsible for creating the initial Education Strategic Plan for the organization and establishing and managing a broad spectrum of space-related programs for students, educators, and the general public. Matthews’ contributions in this role have resulted in the creation of the Space Station Explorers Consortium—a growing community of ISS National Lab partner organizations working to leverage the unique platform of the ISS to provide valuable education experiences—as well as multiple space-themed educational programs, including the National Design Challenge, Story Time From Space, and Space Crystals. All of these programs leverage the ISS National Lab as a powerful tool to inspire students through real-world, project-based science engagement.
Matthews was also instrumental in the development of the Space Station Explorers Kit: a space-themed activity guide for students in grades 3–8. The free Kit includes hands-on activities that require low-cost supplies and align with national education standards for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
Prior to joining the ISS National Lab, Matthews supported educational opportunities for science in space through her work at Zero Gravity Corporation coordinating nationwide teacher training for Northrup Grumman’s Weightless Flights of Discovery program, reaching approximately 10,000 middle and high school students. She has also contributed to NASA’s LaunchPad2 Learning program with curriculum development and to Space Media Inc. with the creation of new content to support educators with space-related STEM content.
In her 20 years of working in space-related education and STEM programs, Matthews’ efforts have reached hundreds of thousands of students and educators around the country. Her continued efforts and creativity are greatly valued and are helping to prepare the next generation of scientists, engineers, and explorers that will maintain U.S. leadership in space and on Earth.