Sharon Bowers

Sharon Bowers

Senior STEM Education Specialist - National Institute of Aerospace


Westminster High School

McDaniel College

Biology/Education (Undergrad); Special Education (Masters)

Virginia Tech

Integrative STEM Education (EdD)

Sharon Bowers 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?

Walks in the woods with my father. Every walk was a field trip. Dinnertime was filled with "Mr. Wizard" experiments. He fueled my curiosity. My father gave me wings and encouraged me to ask “why.”

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

  • NASA eClips 4D: NASA eClips are standards-based videos, activities and lessons to increase STEM literacy through the lens of NASA.

Tell us about your job. What do you do?

I'm the Senior STEM Education Specialist at the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA). My team of educators and I create integrative Science, Technology, Engineerin, and Mathematics (STEM) resources for formal and nonformal settings. These include the NASA eClips video segments (NASA SME connecting their work with standards-based STEM) and Ask SME videos (profiles of NASA Subject Matter Experts, or SMEs). We also develop engineering design challenges and guides to help educators know how to best integrate the video segments into problem and project-based learning experiences.

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

Open your eyes. Look around. Ask why. Never stop wondering. Question everything.

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

I have been fortunate to collaborate with different members of the Webb Telescope team. This space telescope is certainly delivering all that it promised. The first images shared from Webb gave a glimpse of science beyond our imagination.

The image is divided horizontally by an undulating line between a cloudscape forming a nebula along the bottom portion and a comparatively clear upper portion. Speckled across both portions is a starfield, showing innumerable stars of many sizes. The smallest of these are small, distant, and faint points of light. The largest of these appear larger, closer, brighter, and more fully resolved with 8-point diffraction spikes. The upper portion of the image is blueish, and has wispy translucent cloud-like streaks rising from the nebula below. The orangish cloudy formation in the bottom half varies in density and ranges from translucent to opaque. The stars vary in color, the majority of which, have a blue or orange hue. The cloud-like structure of the nebula contains ridges, peaks, and valleys – an appearance very similar to a mountain range. Three long diffraction spikes from the top right edge of the image suggest the presence of a large star just out of view.
What looks much like craggy mountains on a moonlit evening is actually the edge of a nearby, young, star-forming region NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula. Captured in infrared light by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, this image reveals previously obscured areas of star birth.

What are some fun facts about yourself?

In some ways, my life is a Hallmark movie. I reconnected with my partner during our 40th high school reunion, and that reunion sparked trans-Atlantic dating between Yorktown and Paris. You’re never too old for new adventures.

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