Ms. Pak Launches NASA Infused STEM Programs

Ms. Pak, the Director of the Software Engineering Academy at Richmond Hill High School, has been teaching here for eight years and is currently enrolled in the NASA Climate Change Research Initiative. This program assists educators to integrate NASA education resources into their curriculum while improving STEM education.


     Two years ago, a CTE administrator from the Office of Student Pathways reached out to her through email about the NASA internship. She now works with several research teams and grad students along with two other teachers to gather and analyze data to predict changes in global climate. 


     Her passion for science flourished at a young age. “I always loved science”, Ms. Pak recalled. “I had this educational cartoon book talking about space, and was like ‘Yeah, I'm gonna become an astronaut’.” Though Ms. Pak’s career took her in a different direction, she has still made contributions to science in different ways. From being an Assistant Researcher to a Compost Coordinator, her journey has taken her through several branches in STEM, leading to her current leadership position at Richmond Hill High School.


    Working in such a competitive field has also sparked insights. “Coming from a culture that’s always [expecting] women to be passive and just regurgitate what we’ve learned instead of really thinking about what you’ve done,” Ms. Pak explained, “it has been challenging me to think about the ‘why’ aspect, ‘why is this happening?’ Science isn’t always straightforward, it's messy.” 


    Ms. Pak hopes to encourage RHHS STEM teachers to integrate NASA resources to their lessons. Since this may be challenging for some of the staff, her goal is to create focus groups in the upcoming year to discuss strategies on how to incorporate the provisions to their curriculum so students can shoot for the stars. 


Reporting by Gabriela Pertab