02.07.07 Sonja Alexander Headquarters, Washington 202-358-1761 Lindsay Crouch Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.

757-864-3189 Harla Sherwood National Institute of Aerospace, Hampton, Va. 757-636-6300 RELEASE: 07-010 FIRST AFRICAN-AMERICAN SPACEWALKER SPEAKS AT NATIONAL CONFERENCE

ALEXANDRIA, Va. - NASA and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) will host the 12th Annual Pre-Service Teacher Conference Feb. 15-17 at the Hilton Alexandria Mark Center, in Alexandria, Va.

Former Astronaut Bernard Harris Jr. will kick off the conference as the keynote speaker Feb. 15. Harris was the payload commander on shuttle flight STS-63, the first flight of a new joint Russian-American Space Program in 1995. During the flight, Harris became the first African-American to walk in space. He completed 129 orbits and traveled over 2.9 million miles during his career as an astronaut.

Media interested in attending the conference or interviewing Harris should contact Sonja Alexander at 202-577-6571.

This national conference will host approximately 300 prospective elementary and middle school teachers and faculty advisors from 50 member institutions representing Historically Black Colleges and

Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs) and selected majority institutions.

During the conference, students and faculty will be exposed to invigorating general sessions, 60 hands-on workshops and a judged poster session. The conference also includes a career fair where students have the opportunity to interview with recruiters from approximately 34 school districts as well as graduate schools from across the country.

Networking opportunities are provided for the prospective teachers and faculty to exchange experiences. As an important extension of the conference, the teachers-to-be are able to apply for the limited spaces available at Pre-Service Teacher Institutes held in the summer at various sites across the country.

The conference was created to help undergraduate education students develop the confidence and skills to effectively teach mathematics and science using cutting-edge technology and educational materials only NASA can provide.

The Pre-Service Teacher Program is a partnership between NASA, the NIA and the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. NIA is a non-profit research and graduate education institute, created by a consortium of leading research universities and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA), to complement NASA's mission to conduct innovative aeronautics, space and atmospheric research; develop new technologies; and to inspire the next generation of explorers.

For information about conference events on the Web, visit: http://research.nianet.org/pstc/index.html

For more information on research at NASA, visit: www.nasa.gov