Teachers in ‘Space’: 7 STEM educators from N.J. among those taking part in Honeywell program

With an eye on rocketing STEM education to the next level, Honeywell sent more than 220 teachers from around the world — including seven from New Jersey — to a special program at “Space Camp” in Alabama earlier this month.

The Morris Plains-based company, through its annual Honeywell Educators at Space Academy program, enabled the teachers to participate in science, technology, engineering and math activities during a pair of five-day courses at what is formally known as the U.S. Space & Rocket Center.

The seven New Jersey teachers who took part this year were:

  • Carole Andreazza, Valleyview Middle School, Denville school district;
  • James Falletti, Corpus Christi School, Bergen County private school;
  • Erica Ferreira, Lovell J. Honiss School, Dumont school district;
  • Gabby Flora, Henry Snyder High School, Jersey City school district;
  • Renee Howard, Fred W. Martin Center for the Arts, Jersey City school district;
  • Donna Lau, Hilltop Elementary School, Mendham school district;
  • Jennifer McDermott, East Hanover Middle School, East Hanover school district.

Falletti, who took part in the camp in 2017, was selected as an ambassador for this year’s program.

James Falletti, a teacher at Corpus Christi School in Bergen County, took part in the HESA program for the second year this summer.

“In 2017, I applied for the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy, not knowing how much of an impact the experience would have on not only my teaching style, but on my entire outlook toward life,” he said in a statement emailed to ROI-NJ. “HESA2017 was truly a life-changing experience thanks to Honeywell and the United States Space & Rockets Center.

“Naturally, when I heard that the Ambassador Application for HESA2018 was available, I took that chance and applied. To my surprise, I was accepted. Together, we acted as liaisons between the staff of the USSRC and the new HESA class of 2018 for Week One of camp, sharing stories of our experiences from the previous years through HESA, how much the program had changed our lives and our perspective toward teaching STEM education in our classes, and shared the journey of how we were able to make these changes with real-life accounts from our students and teacher colleagues.”

Honeywell Hometown Solutions, the conglomerate’s corporate citizenship initiative, teamed with the USSRC to create the program for science and math teachers in 2004. Since then, more than 3,000 teachers have taken part in the program.

“We’re thrilled to continue our long partnership with Honeywell to bring teachers to learn and grow at our facility in Alabama,” USSRC CEO and Executive Director Deborah Barnhart said in a prepared statement. “The opportunity to help these teachers ignite their students’ passion in space, science and technology is one we at USSRC look forward to each year.”

Teachers take part in 45 hours of classroom and laboratory instruction focused on topics such as science, space exploration and leadership skills.

“I want to thank Honeywell for the opportunity to attend HESA,” Lau said in an emailed statement. “This was a once-in-a-lifetime experience that has not only showed me different ways to incorporate STEM into my classroom, but also given me the resources and skills, and shown me different ways that I can extend my lessons to help my students succeed, not just in the classroom, but in life.

“I loved every minute of my time at HESA, but my favorite was meeting all the wonderful teachers (from) around the world, sharing ideas, learning new culture and making lasting friendships.”

Educators who pass the application process are awarded scholarships, round-trip airfare, tuition, meals and accommodations through Honeywell.

“Teachers dedicate their lives to educating students and preparing them for a world they will one day lead,” Mike Bennett, president of Honeywell Hometown Solutions, said in a statement. “Today, STEM education is no longer about reading from textbooks or memorizing facts and formulas. STEM is about doing. We’re proud to invest in teachers, help them improve their teaching techniques and their curriculum, and ultimately motivate their students to reach their fullest potential.”

To learn more about the HESA program, click here.

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