Meet: Sherri Jurls
K-12 Education Outreach
Educational Programming On-Camera Host
Johnson Space Center
"The exciting thing
is that we don't know what lies beyond the unopened door . . . and each
door will open to many more doors . . . each answer leading to many
more questions . . . that is discovery."
Who I Am and
What I Do
I am an on-camera
host for the Distance
Learning Outpost department at the Johnson Space Center. I teach
K-12 students about the human space flight program, mostly via live
video teleconferencing events and webcasting. We discuss all aspects
of the program, including math, geography, and the life, materials,
physical, and social sciences.
I spend a lot of my time
on camera, talking with students. Before an event, I research the material
we will be discussing so that I am up-to-date on the latest discoveries.
I also do a lot of logistical planning prior to an event, making sure
that the teachers and I have the same educational goals for their students.
I talk with a wide variety
of people, from kindergarten students to congressman, so strong communication
skills are essential. I enjoy working in this very challenging environment,
and a strong desire to learn is essential because information on the
space program is ever-evolving and you have to keep up with it.
I have a bachelor
of science degree in Recreation, Parks, & Tourism Science from Texas
A&M, and went to graduate school at the University of Houston, earning
my master's degree in hospitality management. I studied hard and was
thrilled when I came to work at NASA in 1999.
I was very fortunate
to have a number of inspiring teachers from elementary school through
college. My physics teacher in high school opened my eyes to ways of
thinking about the world that I never thought of before. I was hooked!
I have always been very
interested in education and feel strongly that it is one of the most
honorable professions. I have dreamed of being lucky enough to work
in this field.
The thing I like
best about my job is how the students challenge me to be the best I
can. They are always asking questions that I don't know the answers
to, so I go research it and we learn it together. The thing I like least
about my job is that there are only eight hours in a day, so I can't
do it as much as I would like.
I was born and raised
in Texas, and can't imagine living anywhere else. The people here are
so friendly! I have visited other places in the United States, but I
am always glad to come home to Texas, my home-sweet-home.
Growing up close
to the Mexico border, I was surrounded by the Mexican culture. I learned
the language and traditions. To this day, I am very interested in other
cultures and am a strong proponent of diversity.
When I was in junior
high, I wanted to be an astronaut. Sadly, as I grew older, my eyesight
became too bad to ever pass the physical requirements to fly. But, I
am very happy doing my job here today!
Something I will
always remember about elementary and junior high is all those years
of piano lessons. Some days were fun practicing, but most were pretty
boring. Now, I love the fact that I can read and play music today based
on what I learned then. I'm glad I kept at it (at my parents' urging).
I have been singing
since I was a little girl. I love to turn up the CD player and belt
out songs along with my favorite singers. I like all kinds of music,
but Broadway tunes are my favorite to sing.
As a kid, I like
to read EVERYTHING, but particularly science fiction. I was rarely without
a book in my hand. Reading opened up a world I never knew existed and
from a very young age, I knew I wanted to go to college to learn more.
I am still a voracious
reader and have an insatiable appetite for learning all kinds of things.
There are no subjects that I have come across yet that seem boring to
me. I am fascinated by life, and everything in it!
My parents lived
in the Rio Grande Valley all of their lives. We moved several times
growing up, but never more than a couple of hours from where we lived
before. I enjoyed growing up there, and occasionally go back to visit.
One of my favorite spots is South Padre Island beach. The sand and water
are both so beautiful!
I now live in the
Clear Lake area, and have been here just over a year. I love the environment
here. Though there are 200,000 people who call the Clear Lake area home,
it feels like a small, nautical community and is very casual and friendly.
I love being near the water and being able to watch the sunsets on the
gulf and go sailing.
I have been married
to a wonderful man, Gregory, since 1996. . He works at NASA as a television
producer. He likes to read as much as I do, and we enjoy our weekly
trips to the bookstore.
We have a wonderful son, Evan, who
keeps us very busy. AND, we have a dog named Katie. We call her our
dogger (doggy daughter). She is a 25 pound basenji-mix, and a joy to
our family. We rescued her from the Humane Society. Evan especially
likes to pull on her tail and ears, but she doesn't mind. Evan is her
I plan to remain
involved in education because I enjoy it so much and feel strongly that
it is very important to future of our world.
Some day I would
like to fly into space. I can't imagine what it must be like looking
back at our beautiful Earth from 200 miles up in the sky.