Live From...the Stratosphere
Robin McGlohn, Biography


Name: Robin McGlohn

Position: Astronomy Educator

My first career was with the US Navy as a naval officer specializing in fighter aircraft. I was an advanced-training flight instructor which included instructing ground school and I was the CO of the NROTC unit at Northwestern University where I taught classes for three years. From these experiences I was convinced that I liked teaching and wanted to be involved in science education at either the high school or junior college level. I obtained my certification in Physical Science at San Francisco State in 1985. I was the project director of my previous school's participation in the state's Scope, Sequence, and Coordination grant whose purpose was to look at new ways of presenting science to students.

I have been in my second career as a high school physics teacher since 1985. In my position at my high school I am the coordinator and one of the teachers of our Physics 1 (all 9th graders take physics) curriculum as well as teaching APB starting this coming school year (taught APC at my previous school). I am sponsor of the engineering club and the astronomy/astronautics club. I am the faculty administrator of the school's BBS. For this project I bring a wealth of personal experience, an enthusiasm for this area of science, a school administration dedicated to improving science/technology education, and the participation of several dynamic students with great interest in astronomy/astronautics.

The best thing about my job is feeling that I have part of the responsibility for the education of our youth and seeing that I often accomplish my goals of improving science education. The worst part was the huge class sizes in the public schools (I routinely had 30 or more students in my physics classes) where it was physically and emotionally impossible to reach out to every student.

I grew up in California during World War II . I had been fascinated with airplanes and the Pacific part of the war centered mainly in maritime warfare, with carrier-based aircraft carrying the major load of air warfare until the very last part of the war. So, I naturally wanted to fly carrier aircraft, and fighters were the most appealing (a need for speed). I read every book I could about airplanes. I enrolled in the Marine Corps Air Reserve at Oakland when I started college at Berkeley so I could be around airplanes. I entered and graduated from the US Naval Academy, went immediately into flight training, and spent 30 years as a navy pilot. My fighter experience includes two tours in Vietnam flying F4 Phantoms. The highest I've ever been in an airplane is 72,000 ft on a training flight out of NAS Mirimar.

My father was a Master Pilot for Pan American from 1936-1945. I assume that my very early exposure to flight instilled the love of airplanes in me. My high school science and math teachers were most supportive of my desire to become an aviator. I advise my students to select a goal as soon as possible and then work their backsides off to be the best they can. I emphasize the importance of science and science education to them as often as appropriate.

I have three children. My daughter is a lawyer, my two boys are both computer network specialists (one is a GS14 managing the network for the FAA Airport Facilities division and the other manages the contract networking for the Chief of Naval Operations at the Pentagon). There is a latch-key tabby cat at home named Ruffy who is great at bringing mice home to show off. I play tennis, ride my bike to school, travel to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, OR twice a year, and am never completely satisified with last year's curriculum.

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