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SWHS grad is NASA envoy

Joey Key is a NASA student ambassador. - Photo courtesy of Montana State University
Joey Key is a NASA student ambassador.
— image credit: Photo courtesy of Montana State University

Joey Key of Langley has been named a National Aeronautics and Space Administration student ambassador as part of the International Year of Astronomy 2009.

Key, a graduate student in physics at Montana State University in Bozeman, is a 1997 graduate of South Whidbey High School. As a NASA student ambassador, she will give presentations around Montana about NASA.

She is one of 46 undergraduate and graduate students selected for the program. Key said she will give presentations to elementary and secondary schools on Indian reservations and other communities. She hopes to get young people excited about science.

“I hope to visit the tribal colleges on all of the Montana Indian Reservations,” Key said.

Her presentations include gravitational wave astronomy, the search for life in the solar system, the weather in space, the Mars exploration rovers and the mission to Saturn and Titan.

Key has given similar presentations as part of Space Public Outreach. Last spring, she and other NASA representatives visited South Whidbey School District schools.

Key, daughter of Steve Shapiro and Debora Valis of Langley, received a bachelor’s degree in astrophysics in 2001 from Williams College in Massachusetts and a master’s degree in physics from Montana State in 2004. She expects to complete her doctoral work at MSU in May 2010. Her thesis, “Early Universe Cosmology,” focuses on gravitational wave astronomy.

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