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Colorado Teacher and Ham Accepted to the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program


Dara Gardner, KFØNIX, a member of the Pikes Peak Radio Amateur Association (PPRAA), has been accepted to the Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship (AEF) Program. The AEF program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena.

“It's pretty exciting,” said Gardner. “I’m overwhelmed and honored. I’ve known about the Einstein program for a few years. The program invests a lot in the teachers, but the teachers get back tremendous amounts of professional development. It’s also exciting that a person like me can have their voice heard on Capitol Hill.” Gardner added that she is still learning how the whole process works but she wants parents have a choice about their childrens' education and to better prepare students for the workforce.

As an AEF Fellow, Gardner will serve on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce in Washington, DC. Her 11-month assignment will begin August 19 and run until July 2025.

Gardner is a teacher at the Thrive Home School Academy and helped establish a special program with Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) which brought shuttle astronaut General (Ret.) Kevin Chilton and shuttle and ISS astronaut Lieutenant General (Ret.) Susan Helms, KC7NHZ, to Harrison High School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. The highlight of the program was an amateur radio contact with astronaut Jeanette Epps on April 22, 2024, as the ISS passed over Stratton Meadows Elementary School.

John Bloodgood, KD0SFY¸ Public Information Coordinator of the ARRL Colorado Section and a member of PPRAA, said Gardner is highly motivated, and very energetic when it comes to working on STEM activities. “She’s a dedicated teacher and completed the ARRL Teacher’s Institute and brings a wealth of knowledge to the classroom,” he added.

For more information on the Albert Einstein Fellow program visit:



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