Neta Apple graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree from California State University, Fresno with two areas of study, Chemistry and Russian Language. She also completed undergraduate requirements for pre-medical studies and has a strong background in and love of mathematics and physics. After working several years as a Criminalist and expert witness for the California Bureau of Forensic Services, she took a position as a high school Chemisty and Physics teacher, concurrently returning to university courses to complete requirements for her teaching certificate.
Upon moving to a small rural town near Tulsa, Oklahoma, she realized that there was a great need for a certified teacher willing to accept long-term assignments and spent several years teaching various science courses in addition to American history, special education, and first grade. During this period Neta developed many creative ways to assist students of various ages and abilities, and she inspired many students who thought they didn't like, or could not learn, science.
While her oldest son was in Kindergarten she approached his teacher about the possibility of presenting a science lesson to the students as a volunteer. Although the teacher had no background in science, she knew it was important and was delighted with the offer. Soon Neta was making monthly visits to all the Kindergarten classrooms. She helped teachers select science activities and materials, and as a guest teacher presented lessons that captured the imagination of the students. As word spread, she was invited to help other teachers, including one of the high school science teachers. Sharing a mutual interest in space exploration, Neta and this teacher began a High School astronomy club, the school's first academic club other than the Honor Society. Neta found a donor of a telescope for the club, interest grew, and the club has expanded to the Middle-School and to Elementary levels. Currently over ten percent of the student body participates in the astronomy club. All this led Neta to a new career path.
Being deeply affected by the needs of these teachers, Neta has continued to offer her services free of charge to any teacher in any location. She has mentored teachers in California and Alaska through e-mail and by mailing them free materials obtained from NASA GSFC and meetings she attended. She also does classroom visits in Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. To the delight of students and teachers, she often brings her telescopes, which are set up for solar observing, to give students a safe look at our star. She has organized nighttime observing sessions at schools and through community service organizations and local library associations to excite and educate students and the public about astronomy.
Now located near Adrian, Missouri, Neta is currently certified to teach all areas of science for grades 5-12 in the states of Oklahoma and Missouri. She has served as Education Coordinator for a small foundation dedicated to astronomy education where she prepared and presented programs to the public and students visiting the foundation-owned observatory. Currently, she serves as the Night Sky Network Coordinator and the Education Committee Chairperson for the Astronomical Society of Kansas City, where she works to educate students, teachers, the public and other amateur astronomers. She is a member of the National Science Teachers Association and she presented papers on astronomy education at their 2007 national meeting. She is also a member of the Science Teachers of Missouri, the American Association of Variable Star Observers, and the Astronomical League. Her membership in the American Astronomical Society is pending approval. She is currently enrolled in a program leading to a Master of Science in Astronomy and expects to graduate in 2009. Her research interest is comparison of globular clusters in the Milky Way and external galaxies to study processes of galaxy formation.
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