Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex

Exploring Space Science

The Midwest Regional Robert Noyce Connections 2016: Exploring Space Science conference was held in Titusville, Florida, from June 20-22, 2016, at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. The Principal Investigator of each one of the 50 active Noyce projects was invited to send a project delegation of up to three project personnel to the conference. The primary audience was Noyce Scholars and Fellows (in-service secondary math and science teachers and pre-service Noyce Scholars) and Master Teaching Fellows, with a secondary audience of PIs/co-PIs/STEM collegiate faculty. Other potential delegation members included evaluators and project managers.

Featured in the News: UNL’s Center for Science, Mathematics and Computer Education recently gave 14 of Nebraska’s math and science educators the opportunity to visit the Kennedy Space Center for a three-day conference to inspire new curricula in their classrooms. The CSMCE supported the conference through its Midwest Noyce Connections grant, funded by the National Science Foundation. Nearly 100 teachers and university faculty attended the conference from Noyce projects in 12 Midwestern states.

Noyce Connections is for Robert Noyce project personnel and participants in the Midwestern region, which consists of Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Conference participants are encouraged to connect with one another via a closed, LinkedIn™ group. Please join LinkedIn now and request membership in the Midwest Regional Noyce Community group.

We would like to share with you the lesson plans and reflections from the attendees of the conference. Click on this link to view and download the documents:


Conference Schedule

The conference began Monday, June 20, at 8 a.m. and ended on Wednesday, June 22, at noon. Sessions included the opportunity for participants to: tour the complex, discuss payload scenarios, strategize for the 2017 solar eclipse, meet the distance learning coordinator for the Kennedy Space Center, meet an astronaunt, experience a shuttle launch simulator and create lesson plans together, with the goal of leaving with enhanced understanding of NASA and space science, as well as classroom applications of integrated STEM learning. Conference participants will share lesson plan ideas with the other Midwest Noyce Scholars.


Conference objectives are to:

  • increase the personal connections among Midwest Noyce project members;
  • utilize these new and/or strengthened connections to share expertise and knowledge across Midwest Noyce projects;
  • support the professional development of Noyce Scholars; and
  • build a community of practice among Noyce Scholars.

Be sure to join the Facebook group “2016 Noyce Kennedy Space Center Conference" for updates.

For Sunday, June 19, if you are flying, pick up your rental car (or meet up with the your project’s personnel who rented a car) at the airport. Drive to Fairfield Marriott Hotel in Titusville, FL: Follow North Exit/SR 528 (toll road) signs, Exit to the Right Cocoa/Kennedy Space Center (approx. 25 miles), Exit to the Left SR 407 toward I95-N/Titusville/NASA Kennedy Space Center (approx. 4 miles), Merge onto I95-N (approx. 4 miles), Exit Right at exit 215, Left onto Cheney Hwy, Right onto Helen Hauser Blvd. If you are driving your personal vehicle: Follow North Exit/SR 528 (toll road) signs, Exit to the Right Cocoa/Kennedy Space Center (approx. 25 miles), Exit to the Left SR 407 toward I95-N/Titusville/NASA Kennedy Space Center (approx. 4 miles), Merge onto I95-N (approx. 4 miles), Exit Right at exit 215, Left onto Cheney Hwy, Right onto Helen Hauser Blvd. Check-in at the hotel. Dinner Sunday night is on your own. Pick up your parking pass before leaving Monday morning.

Travel Support

Travel support is available from the conference for airfare or mileage as well as lodging. We will secure your lodging reservation for you at the Fairfield Hotel once your registration is complete.

If you are flying, you can either buy your plane ticket yourself and be reimbursed after the conference OR Deb Klimes at UNL will give your name to Travel and Transport for booking your ticket and it will be paid for with grant funds at the time of purchase. This also applies to a rental car; the grant will pay for one car per project so you can reserve it yourself and be reimbursed after the conference or you can book the car through Travel and Transport. We encourage those who will fly to register as soon as possible so flights can be booked. Do not purchase a plane ticket until your registration is complete and you have been contacted by Deb Klimes. Other travel questions can be answered by Deb Klimes at 402-472-6348 or Lindsay Augustyn at 402-472-8979.

The regional Noyce grant will support the travel of up to 3 people from each project. Travel support includes:

  • Airfare to Orlando (airport code MCO) and rental car up to $500 (one rental car per project) OR Mileage to Titusville, Florida, for your personal vehicle up to $500 (reimbursement is just for the driver if you carpool);
  • Three nights lodging at the hotel arranged by the conference organizers (check-in Sunday, June 19, and check-out Wednesday, June 22) with two people per room; and
  • Lunches for Monday and Tuesday at the Kennedy Space Center.

Breakfast is included at the hotel, and parking is free at both the hotel and the Kennedy Space Center. No other meals or transportation costs such as baggage, gas or taxis will be reimbursed by the Noyce Connections Conference. No per diem will be provided for this conference.

Your project may choose to send more than 3 people if the project finds other funds to cover all of these costs of the additional team members; however, the attendees must still register for the conference using this registration form.

If more than 3 people register from your project and select the payment option that Noyce Connections is paying for their trip, we will contact the PI to determine which 3 people will receive the travel support from the conference grant.

Overall conference registration will be capped at 200 people.

If you booked your flight through Travel and Transport and have travel issues like delays that cause you to miss connections or flight cancellations, call Travel and Transport at 402-486-4111 or 800-228-4395 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time Monday through Friday. For emergency after-hours service, including Saturday and Sunday please call them at 800-237-3950. They can help you get rebooked on another flight.

Fairfield Inn and Suites, Titusville, Kennedy Space Center, 4735 Helen Hauser Blvd 32780

Hotel Information

The Noyce Connections grant set up a room block at the Fairfield Inn and Suites Titusville. The grant submitted a rooming list (double occupancy) to the hotel for the conference. The hotel is 20 minutes north of Port Canaveral. There is free hot breakfast buffet, high-speed wireless internet, and parking, as well as a business center, exercise room and outdoor heated pool. The rooms have refrigerators, microwaves and 32" flat screen TVs. The hotel is located 45 minutes east of the Orlando International Airport. Driving Directions to Fairfield Marriott

Organizing Committee

Conference organizers form a partnership across five Noyce projects at four institutions. The collaborating team comes from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL), Illinois State University (ISU), Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI), and Wittenberg University.

  • Wendy Smith (chair), University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Willy Hunter, Illinois State University
  • Kim Nguyen, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis
  • Gina Post, Wittenberg University

UNL Planning Committee:

  • Lindsay Augustyn
  • Beth Lewis
  • Jon Pedersen
  • Steve Swidler