Andrew “Andy” Shaner

Public Engagement Lead - Lunar and Planetary Institute


Wichita Northwest High School, Wichita, KS

Wichita State University

B.A. Secondary Education

The University of Arizona

M.A Teaching and Teacher Education, Minor in Planetary Science

What first sparked your interest in space and science?

My kindergarten teacher made solar system booklets where each page had a sentence about an object in the solar system. We then had to draw that object. My drawing of the Moon can be seen in this profile.

How did you end up working in the space program?

Andy Shaner
Andy Shaner

As a grad student, I was fortunate enough to be a member of the education and public outreach team for the Mars Phoenix mission which was operated at the University of Arizona. I enjoyed the experience so much that I looked for ways to continue working with the space program after graduation. I'm still here.

Tell us about your job. What do you do?

I design, implement and evaluate a variety of programs to engage people of all ages and backgrounds in NASA science and exploration. Programs include public lectures and family Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) events. I also assist scientists in connecting with people.

What's one piece of advice you would give to others interested in a similar career?

Keep your options open. Pursue the life you want to live, but don't be afraid to try something you never thought you would try or thought you could do.

Who inspires you?

My best friend. He is a professor of communications at Penn State University. He and I have been close since middle school. Though we work in different fields, and certainly do not have a competitive relationship, I look up to him as a model of someone who works hard and is doing what he loves to do.

What are some fun facts about yourself?

When I have time I like to pursue genealogy research. Being a fan of history, I enjoy learning about the historical contexts in which my family has been situated.

Additional Links

Where are they from?

Planetary science is a global profession.