Space Foundation Press Releases

Space Foundation Offers Scholarship for Florida Educators

Written by: developer

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Oct. 30, 2012) – The Dr. Catherine Pedretty Space Scholarship for Teachers creates special professional development opportunities for educators currently teaching in the state of Florida, and especially for teachers at Dunedin High School in Dunedin, Fla. It provides a unique opportunity for the selected teacher to travel to Colorado Springs and participate in one of the Space Foundation’s annual week-long Space Across the Curriculum summer courses.

The scholarship provides up to $2,500 for travel, meals and lodging expenses, plus full tuition and fees.

The recipient may elect to receive continuing education or graduate academic credit for the course; graduate credit may be applied toward one of several master’s degrees offered by the Space Foundation and partner universities.

Who May Apply
Any credentialed teacher working with students in the state of Florida is eligible to apply. First consideration will be given to applicants currently teaching in Dunedin High School.

The applicant should first become familiar with Space Foundation teacher professional development and Space Across the Curriculum courses by going to To apply, submit a letter that states the applicant’s qualifications and motivation for applying, experience or interest in space themes in the classroom and what the applicant hopes to gain from the experience. The application letter must be endorsed with a letter of support by a principal or other supervisor.

Send application and letter of support by March 1, 2013, to:

Dr. Catherine Pedretty Space Scholarship for Teachers
Space Foundation
4425 Arrowswest Dr.
Colorado Springs, CO 80907

The recipient will be notified in early May 2013.

Scholarship Honors Lifetime Learner
Funding for the Dr. Catherine Pedretty Space Scholarship for Teachers is provided by her daughter, Janet Stevens of Colorado Springs, Colo., who is the vice president – marketing and communications for the Space Foundation, and her son, Mark Pedretty of New Port Richey, Fla.

A lifetime learner, Dr. Catherine Frazer Partain Pedretty worked as a teacher and guidance counselor in Pinellas County Schools for 38 years and was director of guidance for Dunedin High School at the time of her retirement. Born in 1928 in Birmingham, Ala., Dr. Pedretty grew up in Tennessee. She excelled in the sciences and wanted to become a geologist, but, as was common during those times, she was steered away from a profession “not befitting a girl.” She majored in French and Spanish at the University of Tennessee, graduating with honors in 1949, the same year she married William L. Pedretty, an electrical engineer. She moved with her husband to North Carolina, Texas and then to Florida.

While their four children were still young, Dr. Pedretty began working in a non-teaching job for Pinellas County Schools. She returned to school for her teaching certification, a master’s degree in curriculum and instruction from the University of South Florida and a Ph.D. in education from Florida State University. As a guidance counselor, she was most proud of the numerous times she helped young women pursue careers in engineering and science and in the role she played in getting her students accepted into the nation’s military academies. Her husband William died in 1996, after 47 years of marriage. In 2004, she married James Gecoma, who survives her. Dr. Pedretty died in 2010 of pancreatic cancer.

2012 Recipient
Donnika Jones, a 4th and 5th grade teacher at the Douglas L. Jamerson, Jr., Elementary School Center for Mathematics and Engineering in St. Petersburg, Fla., was the 2012 recipient. She used her scholarship to attend the new “Meteorology and Space Weather” Space Across the Curriculum course.

About the Space Foundation
The foremost advocate for all sectors of the space industry and an expert in all aspects of space, the Space Foundation is a global, nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs that bring space into the classroom and major industry events, including the National Space Symposium, all in support of its mission “to advance space-related endeavors to inspire, enable and propel humanity.” The Space Foundation publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity and provides three indexes that track daily performance of the space industry. Through its Space Certification and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, the Space Foundation recognizes space-based technologies and innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Founded in 1983, its Colorado Springs world headquarters features a public Visitors Center with two main areas – the El Pomar Space Gallery and the Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere®. The Space Foundation also conducts research and analysis and government affairs activities from its Washington, D.C., office and has a field office in Houston, Texas. For more information, visit Follow us on FacebookLinkedIn and Twitter, and read about the latest space news and Space Foundation activities in Space Watch

Pictured, left to right: Donnika Jones, Dr. Catherine Pedretty, 2011 winner Robin Little