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photo of Robin Salonich receiving award
Robin Salonich receiving Technology Innovation Award from DonCantrell with SCAET for Lexington Four’s “Aisle of Palms” program of implementing handhelds in the classroom.

Robin Salonich
NES Team Member Teacher
Sandhills Middle School
Gaston, South Carolina

Howdy from South Carolina! I have been in education for 10 years, with my primary focus being in science, technology, and math. I have been a Math Study Skills Teacher for grades five through eight, a self-contained regular education teacher for fifth grade and my current position as a Technology Coach. I enjoy my time out of the classroom working with teachers, but miss the vigor and enthusiasm that students’ display when true learning takes place.  I get my student itch scratched through facilitating student groups such as Making Aerospace Real for Students (MARS), a curriculum provided by the Civil Air Patrol.

Education has truly been a vehicle for numerous opportunities for me and ultimately for the students. I was one of four SC teachers selected to attend a National Geographic/JASON XII Hawaiian Islands Field Institute in 2000. This opened the door for me to be a Field Trainer for JASON Expeditions and an online facilitator for JASON Academy workshops for five years. During the my tenure as a fifth grade science teacher, my students had the opportunity to follow me on a Teacher At Sea Experience with NOAA’s Ocean Explorer’s for the year 2002. Students were able to read online essays, follow video footage that was uploaded, and track the ship’s travels and teachers were given the opportunity to participate in a ship to shore phone conference.  It was during this cruise that I as afforded the most exciting opportunities of my career. This was a 700ft descent in the Johnson-Sea-Link II in order to collect data regarding the spawning locations and behavior of economically valuable reef fish and to understand the reasons for their population decline. In 2003, I piloted their Teacher At Sea program at Skidaway Institute of Oceanography (SKIO) in Georgia and brought back information on wave monitoring buoys to the classroom.   With the award of the Hewlett-Packard grant in 2004, I was able to create and implement a unit entitled “Stories from the Dirt”. Students used the science process through a variety of careers to decide whether or not to proceed building on a certain plot of land based on discoveries in the soil.

Personally, I have two fantastic daughters ,Whitney (13)  and Emily (10),   that have enjoyed my passion for learning and wondering the “what-if’s” in life. We do science experiments as a part of our daily routine are the resident “experts” of our extended family of anything involving the science and technology. It is not uncommon for us to get up early and head to Congaree National Park just because we want to see a plant or animal or stay up late to see a meteor shower.

I am thrilled about this expedition. Spaceward Bound: Mojave will allow me an opportunity to bring back information and activities to my school and share with all students not just one classroom!

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Editor: Linda Conrad
NASA Official: Liza Coe
Last Updated:February 2006
Students Contact: Loretta Hidalgo
Teachers Contact: Liza Coe