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Meet: Sherri Jurls

photo of 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.

Education and Career Path

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.

Personal and Growing Up

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 Family

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 "little buddy."

Future Plans

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.




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