Joan Harper-Neely

STEM Education Specialist - National Institute of Aerospace/ NASA eClips

Joan Harper-Neely is part of NASA's Science Activation Program (SciAct). SciAct has projects and NASA teams across the U.S. that are helping learners of all ages do science!

What first sparked your interest in science, technology, engineering, and/or math?


I was invited to join the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) when I attended Penn State. NSBE introduced me to engineering and I was hooked.

What Science Activation project(s) are you affiliated with?

NASA eClips is a library filled with videos for students to view as well as educator resources to facilitate interactive, hands-on experiences.

Tell us about your job. What do you do?

As a STEM Education Specialist and NASA eClips project lead for the National Institute of Aerospace, I work with a team to create content (videos, educator guides, and presentations) for formal and nonformal audiences about NASA sciences, technologies, and careers.

What's one piece of advice you would give to someone interested in learning more about science?

If you want to learn more about science, participate in a citizen science project. Not only will you learn about science, but you will also be able to contribute data to help increase our understanding of science.

What is your favorite science image or visualization, and why?

I love the images of Earth from the International Space Station.

This image from orbits shows Spain and Portugal at night, illuminated only by city lights.
Spain and Portugal from the International Space Station.

Who inspires you?

Young learners inspire me. I love this quote from Frederick Douglass, "It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." The purpose of my life is one of service to others.

What are some fun facts about yourself? (Hobbies, cool places you've been, personal anecdotes, etc.)

Before I understood the actual costs associated with a college education, I took a semester's worth of electives, including bowling, ice skating, and pottery.