Space Foundation Press Releases

Jill Gilford is 2019 Recipient of the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (Feb. 21, 2019) – Jill Gilford, an Earth and Space Science Teacher at Twin Lakes High School in Monticello, Ind., has been selected to receive the 2019 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.

The annual award is presented jointly by the Space Foundation, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), in recognition of creative and innovative use of technology by K-12 educators, or district-level education personnel.

Gilford started a program at her school called Science Buddies, a peer mentoring program that trains high school students to present science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) activities to first graders. The activities focus on collaboration, organizational skills, problem solving and design process. The program also uses video conferencing to enable students to virtually travel to classrooms around the world, such as in Australia, Italy and the Ukraine.

Gilford has won a number of teaching awards, including the 2017 Twin Lakes School Corporation District Teacher of the Year, and she was an Indiana Teacher of the Year top finalist in 2017.

About the Award
Last year’s Shepard Award recipient was Oregon science teacher Diego Martinez. In January of this year, Martinez sent a thank you note to the Space Foundation summing up what the award meant to him:

The award has been a nonstop, empowering rocket ride. It has helped me empower many more students and groups with aerospace education. It’s been magical.

The award, named for Mercury and Apollo astronaut Alan Shepard, will be presented during the Space Foundation’s 35th Space Symposium, to be held April 8-11 at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colo. See details about the Space Symposium at To learn more about Space Foundation STEM education programs, please visit

About the Astronauts Memorial Foundation
Founded in the wake of the Challenger accident in 1986, AMF honors and memorializes 24 astronauts who sacrificed their lives for the nation and the space program while on a U.S. government mission or in training. AMF, a private, not-for-profit organization, built and maintains two major facilities at the John F. Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Space Mirror Memorial is a 42-foot high by 50-foot wide polished granite monument designated by Congress to be the national memorial for America’s astronauts. At the Center for Space Education AMF partners with NASA to inspire future generations of scientists, technologists, engineers and mathematicians. Students, teachers and mentors experience building rockets, robotic competitions and other hands-on space-related learning activities led by NASA space education specialists. The Center for Space Education also houses a massive conference space with state-of-the-art audio/visual capabilities. This conference space is used for NASA Day of Remembrance ceremonies as well as educational programs, community and international conferences throughout the year, including the NASA collegiate Robotic Mining Competition involving over 500 students from almost 50 colleges throughout the nation. For more information about AMF visit, and follow on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. See award information at

About the National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NASA is an agency of the United States government, responsible for the nation’s civilian space program and aeronautics and aerospace research. Operational since 1958, NASA’s mission is to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. It has led U.S. space exploration including the Mercury and Gemini space programs, the Apollo missions to the Moon, the Space Shuttle, U.S. involvement in the International Space Station, the Hubble Telescope and robotic interplanetary and distant space missions. NASA is also responsible for long-term civilian and military aerospace research and research focused on better understanding Earth, the solar systems, and the universe beyond. For more information, go to

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and the world’s premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites – and – and follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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Space Foundation Media Contact:

Carol Hively, Director Public Relations & Team Communications

[email protected]