Christine Hirst Bernhardt named a 2021-22 Albert Einstein Educator Fellow

Thursday, September 16, 2021
Christine Hirst Bernhardt

Christine Hirst Bernhardt, flying on a mission of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) in 2017

Christine Hirst Bernhardt, a Department of Education Ph.D. student, has been named a 2021-2022 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow (AEF). The AEF Program provides a unique opportunity for accomplished K-12 STEM educators to apply their extensive classroom knowledge and experiences to their host offices to inform Federal STEM education efforts. The fellows spend eleven months serving in a federal agency or U.S. Congressional office in Washington, D.C., engaged in the national STEM education arena.

Some outstanding contributions of past AEF Program Fellows include:

  • Designing new elements of national STEM education programs;
  • Implementing major co mponents of national STEM education programs;
  • Initiating collaborations and partnerships among Federal agencies;
  • Drafting legislation and advising on policies that seek to improve K-12 education in the United States;
  • Creating web-based science education tools;
  • Collaborate with agencies to further advance policies in diversity, equity and inclusion within the Federal Government; and
  • Establishing and evaluating national and regional programs centered on school reform and teacher preparation in STEM.

Christine Bernhardt is a doctoral student at the GGSE. She has earned a secondary teaching credential in Geosciences from Cal State, Fullerton; a Master’s in Science Teacher Education from Cal State, Northridge; and a Master’s in Space Studies from the University of North Dakota. She was part of the Teacher in Space program herself, flying on a mission of NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), in 2017. Bernhardt’s goal is to unlock the mystery of space for her students.

Bernhardt is the second Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow to be a graduate student in the Department of Education as John Galisky was a fellow in 2019-20 prior to his time studying at UC Santa Barbara.

[Christine Hirst Bernhardt is available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at]