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Full Name
Christine Hirst Bernhardt
School/Organization
University of California, Santa Barbara
Job Title
STEM Teacher, PhD student
Interests
State
Subject Area
Expertise
Program Affiliation: Other
Albert Einstein Educator Fellow
Bio

Christine Hirst Bernhardt - (Los Angeles, CA) is a current Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow, serving in a Congressional office. She has taught Astronomy, Honors Astronomy, Chemistry, Earth Science, Engineering, and Life Science with the William S. Hart Unified School District since 2007, where she has also served on district science curricular design and implementation teams. Christine utilizes student driven learning experiences to promote agency and equity in STEM. She developed a unique and regionally famous high altitude balloon experiment program and student space symposium, which have been featured in various media and a documentary. Christine is an adjunct professor of Astronomy and Physical Science at College of the Canyons, Los Angeles City College West, and NASA’s Endeavor STEM Leadership program. She was awarded the Specialized Secondary Programs grant through the California Department of Education, which she used to develop two innovative, experiment-based astronomy courses. In 2017, Christine was selected to fly aboard NASA’s SOFIA mission. She is currently the lead for the United States Astronomy Education team through the International Astronomical Union, a consultant with NASA’s Infiniscope to develop Earth and Space activities, and worked for several of the nation's leading curricular companies as a subject matter expert. Christine regularly supports science teachers through local and national professional development workshops, curricular development and outreach to foster equitable and innovative learning experiences. She is a NASA Solar System Ambassador, Space Foundation Liaison, and an advisory board member for the National Science Teacher Association’s National Aerospace Advisory Board and NASA Infiniscope. She is the 2021 recipient of the Thomas J. Brennan award in excellent Astronomy teaching for North America, through the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Christine travelled to Chile as an astronomy education ambassador through the Astronomy in Chile Educator Ambassador Program, and founded a space camp in Hong Kong, both in 2019. She is a two-time mountain biking national champion and raced professionally until 2016. She founded the first all women’s professional gravity mountain bike team to promote and advance women in a male dominated industry. She holds an M.S. in Space Studies with an emphasis in Planetary Science from the University of North Dakota and an M.A. in Secondary Science Education from CSU Northridge.  She is currently a Regents Fellow at UC Santa Barbara, where she is pursuing her PhD in STEM Education and Global Studies. Her research interests  are in teacher education and Earth and Space education, and the intersections of STEM and Social Justice.  She was recently appointed as an Emerging Teacher Educator fellow with the California Teacher Education Improvement Network, an elite fellowship of doctoral students across the UC system seeking to improve the caliber of teacher education, and hopes to continue her work supporting teachers as a professor upon completion.

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