Butler Professor Chosen for NASA Astronomy Ambassador Program | Butler Community College

Butler Professor Chosen for NASA Astronomy Ambassador Program

BCC professor Danny Mattern
Published: Friday, April 28th, 2023

Mattern will receive training designed to enhance student engagement in STEM.

Butler Community College physics professor Danny Mattern was selected as one of 18 teachers from 14 states to participate in NASA’s Astronomy Activation Ambassadors (AAA) program this summer. As part of the program, Mattern will receive access to NASA’s educational resources as well as training in a curriculum module produced by the SETI Institute that connects curriculum concepts to NASA-supported research.

“I’m very excited to be selected as a NASA Astronomy Activation Ambassador (AAA) for 2023,” Mattern said. “I have been very fortunate to be a part of several NASA projects in the past.” 

AAA is a professional development program for middle school, high school, and community college physical science teachers designed to enhance student learning and STEM engagement. AAA is part of NASA Science Mission Directorate's Science Activation (SciAct) collective, which aims to engage learners of all ages with NASA science.

Mattern intends to implement what he learns into his lesson planning. “I will be able to use the training I receive directly in my Physics and Astronomy courses here at Butler,” he said. “I’m always looking for ways to bring real-world content into the classroom for my students. Through the resources from NASA and the SETI Institute, I will be able to do just that!”

The program has reached an estimated 35,000 students through this specialized teacher training. A controlled study of the AAA program showed significant improvements in student learning and engagement among those whose teachers participated in the program and taught the curriculum module. “This rich curriculum illuminates the value of scientific research and the wide variety of STEM career paths available to [students]. The AAA program allows the SETI Institute to continue bringing NASA science into classrooms across the country,” said Dr. Dana Backman, AAA program lead.

The 18 teachers selected as 2023 Astronomy Activation Ambassadors

Warren Berg, Highlands Ranch H.S. Highlands Ranch, Colorado

Cassondra Bulaclac, Tomball Memorial H.S., Tom ball, Texas

Charles Canestaro, Cortland  H.S., Cortland, New York

Brittany Chase, Mahone M.S., Kenosha, Wisconsin

Daniel Chase, Modesto Junior College, Modesto, California

Chris Ellis, Badger Springs M.S., Moreno Valley (Moreno Valley USO), California

Jacob Hairrell, Mounds View H.S., Arden Hills, Minnesota

Scott Kardel, Palomar College, San Marcos, California

Stacy Katzenstein, Valley View H.S., Moreno Valley (Moreno Valley USO), California

Nicholas Krissie, Lincoln M.S. Oakland, Oregon

Mark Lenfestey, Homestead H.S., Fort Wayne, Indiana

Justin Lowry, Wilbur Wright College, Chicago, Illinois

Danny Mattern, Butler Community College, Andover, Kansas

Jerrie Danielle Murray, Fort Zumwalt West H.S. (Fort Zumwalt SD R2), O'Fallon, Missouri

Lillian Reynolds, Voyager Public Charter School, Honolulu, Hawai'i

Vakini Santhanakrishnan, Ohlone College, Fremont, California

Mary Teren, McEachern High School (Cobb County SD), Powder Springs, Georgia

Laura Wommack, Mansfield Elementary-High School, Mansfield, Washington


Contact information

Rebecca McDonald

Director of Communications SETI Institute


Dr. Dana Backman

AAA Program Lead SETI Institute



By Caleb Sanderson