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Who We Are

judy-bio-picJudy Rice builds partnerships across the world to help make a difference in the aerospace industry workforce and the education of students interested in technical fields. She is Founder and Captain of ThinkGlobal Flight, an around-the-world flight of adventure promoting Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) education and inspiring students. This historic international flight increased the number of students across the globe, interested in and inspired by aviation and aerospace as they followed the crew on their journey around the Earth.

Throughout her life, Judy has had a passion for aviation and space technology. This passion coupled with sixteen years as a teacher eventually brought her into the field of aerospace education. She values the experience gained as a special education specialist because it gave her a broad knowledge of the learning process.

She currently holds the title as President to the National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education. The National Coalition for Aviation and Space Education represents government, industry, and labor; united to promote aviation and space education activities and resources; increase public understanding of aviation and aerospace; and support educational initiatives at the local, state, and national levels.

Her position with the X-Plane Flight Simulator Company provided the technological understanding necessary in today’s global society. Rice’s tenures with the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) Deputy Director Aerospace Education and with the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) as the Executive Director Youth Education involved a wide variety of skills: collaborations with various national aerospace education organizations; developing, writing, and editing curriculum; script writing and video production; implementation of curriculum programs in schools through-out the nation; professional development; large scale volunteer/member coordination efforts; coordinating the largest air show event in the nation for youth, KidVenture; and director to two national aerospace conferences.

The National 4-H Aerospace Curriculum Project hired her to produce a series of publications that eventually involved 35 businesses and thousands of pre-college 4-H members. During the 4-H project, Ms. Rice learned to fly and is an instrument rated commercial, multi-engine, Citation type-rated pilot, advance ground instructor, certified flight instructor and logged over 3,000 hours in numerous aircraft. Captain Rice holds the world absolute NAA Speed Over a Recognized Course Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Reykjavik, Iceland and the FAI Circumnavigator Certificate. She is the proud owner of a Grumman TR2 airplane.

Ms. Rice's work has taken her to almost all 50 states and many countries representing aerospace education over the past 20 years. She has numerous awards and accomplishments in her portfolio and a member of many aviation and space organizations. Her goal is to share her passion for aviation and her extensive experience with youth and adults worldwide.

• Instrument Oshkosh, WI
• Advance Ground Instructor Palm Coast, FL
• Commercial Vero Beach, FL
• Commercial, Multi-engine Long Beach, CA
• Citation Type Burbank, CA

• Bachelors Arts - University of Southern FL Tampa, FL
• Certification, Language Arts - Cambridge Community College Cambridge, MN
• Certification, Business Management - Anoka Technical College Anoka, MN
• Florida Certified Workforce Professional 1 Daytona Beach

• 2015 World absolute NAA Speed Over a Recognized Course Kangerlussuaq, Greenland to Reykjavik, Iceland
• 2015 FAI Circumnavigator Certificate
• 2015 NAA Record Speed Over Recognized Course
• 2014 Aviation Bright Futures Foundation Award
• 2007 Dr Mervin Strickler Aviation Education Leadership Award
• 2007 Air Force Association Exceptional Service Award
• 2005 Laursen Award
• 1993 EAA Outstanding Ground Volunteer Award
• 1996 NATA John E Godwin Scholarship for Aviation Contributions
• 1996 Minnesota Governor's Award for Excellence in Aerospace Education
• 2001 Wisconsin Aerospace Educator
• 2001 National Congress Crown Circle Award
• 2001 Woman Pilot Ambassador

Fred1Fred Nauer’s aerospace experience mirrors many of the goals of ThinkGlobal. He’s been involved in aircraft maintenance and flying in the Air Force, flew as a first officer in the airlines, worked in a college aerospace program, an aircrew training instructor at Delta/Northwest Airlines, Inc. and is currently working as both a ground and flight instructor at Thunderbird Aviation in Eden Prairie, MN.  While United States Air Force, his first assignment was as an Aircraft Maintenance Officer.

He supervised crew chiefs (aircraft mechanics), avionics technicians and engine mechanics. He was chosen to go to navigator training and was assigned to fly the F-4E as a Weapons System Officer (WSO) after graduation. As a WSO he was trained in California, fought the Cold War in West Germany and finished up in North Carolina. After he was released from the Air Force, he started pilot training. Because of his experience as a navigator, he progressed very quickly through the training and became both a ground instructor and a flight instructor.

Fred flew for Mesaba Airlines in the Avro RJ-85 (BAC-146) as a first officer. He has taught at the high school, community college and the university level. He is renowned for his skill as a flight instructor. He was an adjunct professor at Middle Tennessee State University working on research and teaching methods to find ways to efficiently introduce the glass cockpit aircraft to the general aviation community. He currently has logged 5,000 hours in numerous aircraft.


Neme Alperstein

neme_thinkglobalflight.jpgNeme Alperstein has been a New York City public school teacher for over 28 years. She has received recognition for her work involving technology that includes NASA’s first Excellence in Teaching Award in IT along with California teacher Pam Leestma. Neme also is a Library of Congress Teaching With Primary Sources Network Mentor and recently received the New York City Department of Education’s 2015 Excellence in School Technology Award. 

NASA’s book, Wings in Orbit published in 2011 includes a chapter Pam and Neme wrote on NASA’s impact on education and human space flight. The book is a comprehensive account of the 30 year Space Shuttle program. 

Other recognitions include the WNET-Thirteen National Teacher Training Institute Teacher of the Year in 2003 and she was also one of the recipients of the The Bertelsmann Foundation Innovative Teacher of the Year 2003. She has been successful in acquiring grants for educational project based learning connect STEM and the arts. 

A definite highlight has been a NASA downlink to the International Space Station to speak with astronauts in 2008 in partnership with Pam Leestma’s students in California. Neme’s students include those in an after school program Neme helped establish for children that also connected through ham radio to astronaut Clay Anderson in space. 

Neme is currently working on a doctorate in STEM learning with a focus on interactive videoconferencing using NASA space science content.

Lisa Bacon

Lisa-Bacon2.jpgLisa Bacon's background encompasses many years in the aerospace industry as a STEM K-12 Outreach Program Manager for one of the world's largest aerospace societies. Her interests include collaborations and mentoring between professionals and students, to spotlight career options that include real-world applications of math, science and technology and providing workshops for teachers to learn how to include aerospace education into their curriculum.
In the next chapter of her life, she has become a substitute teacher in Loudoun County, VA, using her experiences as an aerospace educator to add value to classes in science, language arts and social studies. In 2013, she became affiliated with Think Global Flight, using a social media mascot, Skye Bleu to engage the public in STEM , sharing world adventures using aviation with students around the globe. Recently, as Director of Exhibits and Experiences for Girls in Technology, she has tied STEM careers in Northern Virginia with math and science in the classroom.
Highlights of her career include creation of networking events for students; Illuminating the Potential of Aerospace, which matched aerospace professionals with local high school students, teachers and parents, Education Alley, a 10,000 sq foot exhibit dedicated to showcasing the space industry to local students, Girl Scout, Boy Scout and Boys & Girls Clubs, which impacted over 20,000 students. Feedback from the students indicated that "their trip to space was a blast!".
Her most memorable achievement was a 10 day international educational event, impacting over 22,000 people from across the globe, which raised over $ 263,000 in sponsorship and in-kind donations, and occurred in the shadow of the 911 events.
In 2010, she was the Dr. Mervin K. Strickler Award winner for a lifetime achievement in aerospace education.
Her two finest achievements and contributions to the STEM workforce are her children, an aerospace engineer and an environmental policy and planner. In her spare time, she can be heard screaming, GO HOKIES during VA Tech football season.

Pamela Leestma

Leestma_Pam-1.jpgPam Leestma teaches 2nd grade at Valley Christian Elementary School in Bellflower, CA. Teaching for 40 years, Pam incorporates her love of space science into her curriculum using NASA resources and technology and is involved in community outreach. Among them is being on the Board of Directors for the Columbia Memorial Space Center in Downey, CA, which provides simulations and hands on activities in space science, flight, and robotics. She was a part time flight director at the Challenger Learning Center in Carson, CA. Pam has spoken at local and national teacher conferences promoting space science education.
A few years ago Pam enjoyed a promotional flight in a MiG 21 provided by the “Teachers in Space” program, which is working with many of the new spaceflight companies in hopes of giving teachers the experience of sub orbital flights so they can bring back their experiences to the classroom. Pam also wrote the answers to children’s space related questions for the “Education” chapter in the published Kid’s to Space: A Space Traveler’s Guide by Lonnie Schorer, our Education Advisor, and later helped to write lesson plans for the companion book, Kid’s to Space Mission Plans: An Educator’s Guide.
Pam and Neme Alperstein have collaborated since 1998 connecting their students using Skype and NASA’s Digital Learning Network activities, which culminates in a videoconference with a NASA expert. The highlight of Pam’s many space education adventures, was when her students in Bellflower and children from New York City and Neme Alperstein, shared in a NASA downlink from the International Space Station. Collaborating with Bellflower City Hall and using a big screen at their facilities, US Astronaut Garrett Reisman answered questions live of her 2nd and 6th grade Buddies and their New York friends.
Pam was one of five private school teachers in the nation to be awarded the National American Star of Teaching Award given in Washington DC by the US Department of Education. Two years later, Pam and Neme Alperstein jointly won the first NASA Excellence in Teaching Award which earned Pam another trip to Washington DC to receive it. NASA published the book Wings in Orbit, which is a comprehensive account of the 30-year Space Shuttle program. Pam and Neme were ask to write a chapter for it from a teacher’s point of view of how NASA education has impacted education and what is the future for human space flight.
Pam’s cousin is Astronaut David Leestma who has flown in the Space Shuttle three times.