Dr. Julie Finley
Vice President of Educational Initiatives
U.S. Space & Rocket Center
STEM Educational Initiatives at the U.S. Space & Rocket Center
September 18, 2014
Huntsville / Madison County is rich in the most powerful of natural resources,… our youth. For more than 30 years the space camp has mined, captured and released the Power of Imagination in young people.
As the first and largest official NASA visitors’ center and a Smithsonian affiliate, we are home to one of the world’s largest collections of space history and are proud to provide immersive educational programs rich in STEM education, but the reach of the Center spreads far beyond the Tennessee Valley. Last year, the Center hosted more than 585,000 guests and trainees…representing more than 60 countries.
Our trainees explore the critical elements of space science and human spaceflight covering educational standards in courses such as physics, biology, chemistry, technology and astronomy – all critical skill sets in today’s high demand STEM related occupations.
In Huntsville/ Madison County we know that quality education is a strong economic driver. We know that early STEM engagement stimulates interest in skilled jobs, feeds the workforce pipeline, and increases the productivity of a community.
Yes, as a leader in informal education, we take our role seriously as we daily engage our guests in hands-on experiences. Join us, you’ll see the authentic Apollo 16 Command Module, you’ll climb in the Mercury and Apollo trainers you’ll see the Skylab solar array and the original Saturn V moon rocket – our own National Historic Landmark.
Our Ultimate Field Trip provides students real world application and showing the relevance behind what they are learning in the classroom. Educators come to Huntsville from all 50 states and additionally internationally to gain methods and working professional knowledge in STEM education.
At the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, The Power of Imagination is unique and inspiring for all.
Dr. Julie T. Finley is a 24-year veteran educator and specialist in curriculum design and program development. She received a Bachelor of Science in English and Psychology from Murray State University, a Master of Arts in Guidance and Counseling from Western Kentucky University and holds a Doctorate in Organizational Administration from the University of Louisville. Her breadth of experience comes from her educational roles of teacher, coach, counselor, administrator and community partner. These distinctive experiences, coupled with intense professional preparation, provide a unique vantage point as an educational leader.
Currently, Dr. Finley serves in the newly developed role as Vice President of Educational Initiatives of the U.S. Space & Rocket Center (USSRC). She joins Dr. Deborah Barnhart’s executive staff in designing and implementing plans for the next generation with an emphasis in Science, Technology, Math and Engineering (STEM) curricula. Her responsibilities include managing the development of educational connections throughout the Center; working with state leadership to increase awareness and participation in Space Camp, Aviation Challenge® Camp and Robotics Camp; extending the visibility and prominence of the museum in key educational venues regionally, nationally and internationally; and promoting increased customer satisfaction for each individual experience.
Prior to her current employment with the USSRC, Dr. Finley served as the Assistant Principal of Curriculum and Instruction for Bob Jones High School of Madison City Schools in Madison, AL. In this position, she designed numerous student programs through research of relevant workforce trends, provided support for the development of high-demand instructional academies in areas of biomedical science, engineering, health science and teaching & learning. She increased Advanced Placement offerings from 8 to 25, published a curriculum catalog of over 230 course offerings, and authored awards and recognition from Alabama’s CLAS Banner system, The Washington Post, Newsweek, and US News and World Report. Dr. Finley has secured educational grants, increased support for special needs children and led scholastic audits to maximize organizational effectiveness.
Dr. Finley’s efforts to bring education, community and industry together have brought renewed partnerships with local Huntsville-Madison County Chamber, Hogan Family YMCA, HusdonAlpha, the Military Child Education Coalition and others. These partnerships have created an alliance of resources and a positive climate for optimal success.