Lynne F. Zielinski

National Space Society Director, Public Affairs Vice President, and Education & Outreach Chair

Enterprise in Space Technical Adviser, Science & Educational Outreach Director

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. A retired physics, astronomy, and space science teacher of 32 years from Glenbrook North High School in Northbrook, Illinois, Lynne has been engaging students in NASA programs since 1987. She has overseen more than 60 nationally placed and NASA Center winners and is the founder of the Glenbrook Aerospace Development Get-away Experiment Team (GADGET), a student organization.

GADGET students under Lynne’s management have flown active and passive experiments on six Space Shuttle missions, nine sub-orbital NASA rockets, two NASA C-9 & two Zero-G aircraft reduced gravity flights, three NASA high-altitude balloon flights, and a Zeppelin, with four additional experiments performed in the NASA 2.2 second microgravity drop-tower. Lynne and her GADGET students have conducted educational outreach for K-12 students and teachers at state and national workshops and conferences, and her GADGET students have collaborated on NASA experiments with students and teachers in three states and in Israel, Portugal, and Morocco.

Lynne currently manages education and outreach programs and competitions for NSS and its annual International Space Development Conference, where hundreds of students from around the world gather to present STEM and fine art education projects and research. She also manages astronomy and space science teacher professional development, family night, and star party programs for Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin, is a NASA JPL Solar System Ambassador and National Space Foundation Teacher Liaison.

Her 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) resource guides, chapter sets in physical science textbooks, and designing educational websites and activities for national astronomy programs. Her research includes work at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, Wisconsin on early moon mapping and nomenclature, at NASA Johnson Space Center on robotics and payload science in the Space Station Training Division, and at the University of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory where she helped launch a NASA rocket into the aurora and created astronomy and space science education curricula.

Some of Lynne’s numerous awards include the NSS Chris Pancratz Activist of the Year (2013), National Space Educator (2013 &1988), NASA NSIP Hall of Fame Award (2004), AT&T Broadband Awesome Teacher Award (2002), Presidential Award for Excellence in Math & Science Teaching (2000), Christa McAuliffe Memorial Award (1999), Tandy Technology Scholar in Science Teaching (1998), John F. Kennedy Award for Courage (1994), and Illinois state finalist for NASA’s Teacher in Space Program (1985).

Lynne’s passion for space stems from childhood: the influence of the factual science achievements associated with the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo, and Skylab programs and the science fiction future of what her world would be like when she grew up from books and television shows like Star Trek. Growing up, these influences have never waned and the personal desire to travel into space is the motivating factor that causes her to encourage students and teachers to move humankind towards that end through experimentation, engineering, and research. She believes in the GADGET motto: “The Sky is NOT the Limit!” and where space is truly the final frontier.


Yerkes Observatory:

Space Foundation:

Leave a Reply