National Aeronautics and Space Administration + NASA Quest
+ Search Quest
 Find it at NASA
 SB Idaho banner
Idaho 2011

Photo of
Jim Gustin
Science Teacher
Orofino Junior Senior High School

Spaceward Bound Expedition Idaho 2011

Hello, my name is Jim Gustin, and I am an educator who lives in Northcentral Idaho with my wife, daughter, and cat. This is my first involvement with a NASA program and I really excited about it.

I have been an educator for two decades between Montana and Idaho. My career path could be described as circuitous. Shortly after high school, I completed an apprenticeship program and worked as a journeyman in the building trades for nearly ten years. During that time, a seed of interest was germinating in me, nurtured by a life-long interest in stream conservation due somewhat to an avid pursuit of fly-fishing. I began a self-study of the ecology of running waters. This interest grew to point where I left the building trades and obtained a Biology degree from Swarthmore College. While there, I was able to obtain a student internship with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. I was provided an opportunity to participate in many aspects of ecosystem research, from ions to whales, at the Matemek Research Station in the North Shore region of Quebec, Canada, with an international team of investigators. This was a truly inspiring experience. I was able to return to Matamek through involvement with the G.A.T.E. (Geographic Analysis of Thermal Equilibria) project through the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia and the Stroud Water Research Center.

The path twisted again, however, after presenting Discovery workshops at the National Bison Range to area teachers. The excitement that these teachers generated was contagious. I began presenting workshops for Project Wild and later, Project Wet, bridging my interests in aquatic ecology with education. I obtained my teaching certificate in addition to completing my Masters degree at the University of Montana with emphases in aquatic ecology and science education. Since then I have been science teacher in small rural schools in Montana and Idaho except for a brief assignment as an elementary principal. I began a doctoral program in Plant, Soils, and Entomology at the University of Idaho and hope to complete it someday.

Presently, I teach General Biology; two dual enrollment classes, Human Biology and Environmental Science for Northwest Nazarene University, and other science classes as needed at Orofino Junior Senior High School (Home of the Maniacs). My goals include sharing with students the interrelationships of chemical, physical, and biological factors that exist in the biosphere and the excitement that can be experienced through conducting original research. In addition to my involvement with this Spaceward Bound project, I am participating in LIMSST (Literacy Instruction for Math and Science Secondary Teachers) through the University of Idaho, SWEET (Summer at WSU Engineering Experiences for Teachers) through Washington State University, and developing a “virtual place-based” science program to be launched this Fall and can be followed on “Orofino Maniac Biology” on Facebook.

During my time off I enjoy Spey-casting to Steelhead in the Clearwater River, tying flies, playing bluegrass on my round-neck dobro, and most of all, spending time with my family.


 FirstGov  NASA

Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated: June 2011