NSS Governor Janet Ivey Receives the Sally K. Ride Excellence in Education Award


Educator and STEM Advocate Feted by American Astronautical Society

Janet Ivey, known for her PBS show “Janet’s Planet” and as an advocate of STEM/STEAM education and youth empowerment, has been recognized by the American Astronautical Society with the Sally K. Ride Excellence in Education Award. The National Space Society congratulates her on this well-deserved honor.

In addition to her many appointments and accomplishments, Ivey is on the National Space Society’s Board of Governors and has contributed tirelessly to NSS educational and youth outreach efforts, including student presentations at the annual International Space Development Conference® and contributions to the NSS SpacEdge Academy, a repository for space-related lessons and activities for grades K-12. She further served as President of Explore Mars for four years and has now assumed the role of their Director of Education. “Janet is an effervescent inspirational role model to students from around the world,” said Lynne Zielinski, NSS Vice President of Education.

Ivey rose to national prominence with the creation of her long-running PBS series “Janet’s Planet,” which teaches science to a preteen audience and features prominent guests. She has won 12 Regional Emmy Awards, 5 Gracie Awards, and is a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador. “Janet’s Planet” now encompasses live touring shows in performing art centers around the country, summer “Janet’s Planet Astronaut Academy Camps,” and Ivey is still producing content for various streaming services. “Janet is magic with kids and students of all ages,” said NSS CEO Anita Gale. “It’s fabulous that she is being recognized with this award!”

Ivey has served since 2014 on the National Space Society’s Board of Governors, which has counted among its members Buzz Aldrin, Hugh Downs, Lance Bass, Martine Rothblatt, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, James Lovell, Harrison Schmitt, and many other leaders in space, science, technology, and the media.

Karlton Johnson, Chairman of the NSS Board of Governors, said, “We’re thrilled to see Janet receive the recognition she so richly deserves. Her work has been emblematic of what we value at NSS—inspiration for the next generation; strong technical, scientific, and liberal arts educational programs; and an enhanced role for girls and women in these fields. She remains a steadfast and valued member of the Board of Governors, and we thank her for her service.”

Ivey’s tireless efforts have inspired children and teens across the country for well over a decade and has changed countless lives, in many cases giving youth new visions for potential STEM-related careers. She has been especially inspirational to young women, advancing their increased engagement in scientific and technical fields.

“Sally K. Ride was more than an astronaut,” Ivey said. “She was a trailblazer and a visionary who saw that her example was a powerful tool for inspiring young people. I solemnly vow to honor her monumental legacy and her commitment to space education by doing my best to fuel the engines of young minds and bring down the stars to all the students I encounter.”


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