an Explore Mars Event

May 16-18, 2023

The National Academy of Sciences Building

Washington D.C.

Christine Hirst Bernhardt

Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow '21; Astronomy/STEM Educator
Christine Hirst Bernhardt is a passionate astronomy educator and teacher leader from California. She has taught STEM and astronomy in middle, high school and college, as well as to teachers through NASA’s Endeavor STEM Leadership program. Christine’s commitment to propelling the intersectional needs of STEM education and passion for bringing space content to the masses have resulted in her appointment as an Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator, the Thomas J. Brennan award for Excellent Astronomy Teaching, participation aboard NASA’s SOFIA mission and travel to Chile as an educational ambassador. She is also an Emerging Teacher Educator fellow with the California Teacher Education Improvement Network. In 2021-2022, Christine was appointed to the US House of Representatives as an Einstein Fellow to advance equitable STEM initiatives. Christine has worked for several curricular companies and advisory boards to promote and curate space education materials. As an educator, Christine utilized project-based learning to promote agency and equity in astronomy through relevant and culturally applicable phenomena, which she connected to the realm of research during her doctorate program in STEM education. She developed a unique and regionally famous high altitude balloon experiment program, student space symposium and international space camp. Christine loves all things adventure; she raced mountain bikes until 2016, won two national championships, and founded the first all-women’s professional gravity mountain bike team to advance women in a male dominated industry. She holds an M.S. in Space Studies, an M.A. in Science Education and is a PhD candidate at the University of Maryland.  Her research centers on astronomy for equity, intersections of social justice in STEM and teaching professional development. She is interested in research-practice partnerships and supporting teachers to develop agentic solutions to engagement in STEM using space as the medium.