• IPAC
Danielle Miller

Ms. Danielle Miller

Danielle Miller

University High School, Orlando, Florida

Grades or community reached

9, 10, 11, 12


Ms. Miller is part of the 2013 NITARP class. She tweets at @d_l_miller and blogs occasionally for Spitzer!

I've always loved all kinds of science, but astronomy and geology are my favorite. I've also always loved NASA, so much so that rather than have a 16th birthday party, I attended Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. I took extra science classes at my Pennsylvania high school - two years of chemistry, two years of astronomy, natural science, biology and physics - which led me to a geoscience major in college. I graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2006 with a Bachelor's Degree in Earth and Space Science education. I moved to Orlando, Florida to teach, 6th grade life science for my first year, then 7th grade earth and space science for two years. I now teach at University High in Orange County, Florida where over the past four years I've taught integrated science, physical science, and astronomy. 

Though teaching keeps me very busy, I also sponsor the National Honor Society, GEMS (Girls in Engineering, Math and Science) club, and an all girls FIRST robotics team at University High School. I'm a Science Ambassador for the Orlando Science Center, a NASA Explorer Schools teacher, and was named Orange County Public Schools Science Teacher of the Year in 2011. My students have accomplished some really cool things including a team of six placing third in the first ever Florida Student Astronaut Challenge, a national winner in the 2011 Cassini Scientist for a Day essay contest, and a national winner in the Reach for the Stars rocket launch competition.  I love social media, technology, music, scrapbooking, reading, and all things space.  I'm very excited to be part of the NITARP team for 2013 along with my team of educators, students and scientists. We'll be working with data from the Kepler telescope and we're hoping to do some great science!





  • NITARP has made me realize that most science teachers don't really immerse students in real science. Too often we (myself included) do 'labs' that have an answer and fit in a class period, and though NITARP has made me want to deviate from this, I'm still not exactly sure how yet. All I know is my students don't ask as many questions as they could be and should be and I need to work on it.

  • The most interesting thing about NITARP was sharing the experience with as many people as I could! [...] NITARP, however always gets way more questions and interest than any other professional development or things I talk about. [..] I really think that NITARP surprises people because it's obvious how much work teachers do and that teachers are on the same level as scientists.

  • I will say that I think part of every good astronomy (or any science) research project is asking a question you don't know the answer to, and I hope that as a teacher I can bring that back to my class. Along with asking questions, both collaboration and organization are important parts of working together for science.

  • I think most people carry misconceptions of scientists as a whole... but I also think most people don't even personally know an astronomer or scientist. The fact that I know and have worked with scientists is going to be helpful to share with students.

  • [The best thing about the trip was} Doing real science. I can't say enough how much I value the opportunity NITARP has given me to be part of real astronomy research for the first time in my career. Bringing back the knowledge, the feeling of not knowing, the drive to continue to find an answer and the skills that I needed to work in a group will be so helpful to me and my students.

  • The most important thing I learned was that it's ok sometimes to not know the answer. As teachers, many times we become so consumed by having the right answer for students. Meanwhile, our students are so consumed by finding the right answer that they miss the learning. This week showed me that no matter how much work you do (in graph, periodogram, histogram, phased curve, or whatever form) you may still not come to the conclusion you thought you would... and that's ok!

  • So many of us science teachers do labs where the end is known (which is sometimes necessary to make sure they fit in a class period and that the students understand the concept we're trying to learn) but that's not really science.

  • I think that astronomy is much more accessible to everyone than any other science. I had no idea all of the data for the research I'll be doing with my team is online!

  • I did not anticipate how much the astronomers would trust us right away. I felt more like a colleague than a student, which was relieving (and maybe a bit stressful, because I probably would have found it easier to ask questions coming from a student role).

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We're back from the Jan 2017 AAS and we had a grand time!