Lynne F. Zielinski
NSS Vice President of Education and Outreach
NSS Board of Directors
Lynne F. Zielinski has a bachelor’s degree in physics from the University of Colorado and a master’s degree in physics from Northeastern Illinois University. She is a retired physics, astronomy and space science teacher of 32 years from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois. Ms. Zielinski has been engaging students in NASA programs since 1987, overseeing more than 60 National and NASA Center winners.
The Glenbrook Aerospace Development Get-away Experiment Team (GADGET), a student organization established by Zielinski, has flown nine active (powered) and more than 200 passive (unpowered) experiments on six Space Shuttle missions. Additionally, active experiments have been flown in nine sub-orbital NASA rockets, four NASA micro-gravity drop-towers, three NASA C-9/Zero-G aircraft reduced missions, three NASA high-altitude balloon flights, and on a Zeppelin. GADGET has also collaborated on NASA experiments with students in Israel, Portugal and Morocco. Ms. Zielinski and her GADGET students have conducted educational outreach for K-12 students in three states, and at state and national teacher workshops and conferences.
Lynne’s creative and passionate commitment to science education is demonstrated through a wide range of efforts including authorship of student experiment results in NASA journals, contributions to NASA Student Involvement Program (NSIP) competition resource guides, chapter sets in physical science textbooks, and designing of educational websites and activities for national astronomy programs.
Ms. Zielinski’s research includes work at NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, TX, in the Space Station Training Division (1990-91), at the University of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory (2000-01) where she helped launch a NASA Black Brant rocket into the aurora and created astronomy and space science education curricula, and at Yerkes Observatory, Williams Bay, WI, (2011-2019) where she ran educator training programs, family night programs, star parties, and research for a book on the mapping and naming of lunar surface features during the 1930-1975 era.
Zielinski joined the National Space Society as an At-Large Director and has sat on the NSS Board of Directors since 2006. In 2008, she became the Vice President of Public Affairs and a member of the Executive Committee, overseeing NSS education, publications (Ad Astra magazine & Downlink newsletter), public affairs, press releases, and outreach committees. Lynne built teams that grew these committees and handed them off to other leaders. In 2019, the VP of Public Affairs title was changed to VP of Education and Outreach overseeing Downlink, Director of Publications, Space Ambassadors program, and building the NSS SpacEdge Education program.
A true leader and educator, Lynne has assembled a team that has taken NSS educational programs to Low-Earth Orbit and beyond. She created opportunities for students participating in the NSS Space Settlement Contest (formally NSS/NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest) to engage with the public, company leaders, astronauts, and VIPs at annual NSS International Space Development Conferences, where beginning in 2008 only a few students participated to 2019 where over 450 students and teachers participated in-person. Students were offered opportunities to give poster and oral presentations as well as participate in workshops and space related activities.
Since 2016, Ms. Zielinski has spearheaded the creation and growth of the NSS SpacEdge Education program. This over-arching program includes a visionary set of educational initiatives that include SpacEdge Academy (K-12), SpacEdge Centers For Excellence (University), numerous contests and competition’s, space policy debate tournaments, and engaging formal and informal educators in developing and sharing lessons, activities, and workshops in space development, settlement, and defense worldwide. Lynne hopes to continue to build the existing great team of educators that create and maintain these initiatives and expand opportunities that will help prepare the next generation for upcoming space jobs, some of which have yet to be created.
Some of Ms. Zielinski’s awards include the Space Foundation/Astronaut Memorial Foundation’s Alan Shepard Award for Technology in Education (2014), National Space Educator Award from National Space Club (the only 2-time winner 2013 & 1988), NSS Activist of the Year (2013), Distinguished Teacher Award Glenbrook North High School (2011), NASA NSIP Hall of Fame Award (2004), AT&T Broadband Awesome Teacher Award (2002), Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching (2000), Christa McAuliffe Memorial Award (1999), Tandy Technology Scholar in Science Teaching (1998), John F. Kennedy Award for Courage (1994), and state semifinalist for NASA’s Teacher in Space Program (1985).
Ms. Zielinski is currently an education consultant and resides in Lahaina, Hawaii.