Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis’ Nominees Receive Top Awards for Innovation in STEM Education

AIAA Trailblazing Award. From left ot right: Gary Brauns (principal, Greenville Jr. High), Tasmyn Front (Challenger Learning Center), Jackie Blumer (AIAA Award winner), Larry Brase (Strategic Planning Chair St. Louis Section AIAA)

June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Awards. From left to right: Caitlyn Rettke, Robert Powell, and Tasmyn Front (Challenger Learning Center), Lori Kremer (JSC Award Winner), Brad Swasand (Lori’s husband)

Two educators–Lori Kremer, first-grade teacher at Bermuda Elementary, and Jackie Blumer, 6th/7th grade science teacher at Greenville Junior High, were nominated by the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis for two different national educator awards – the June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Trailblazing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Educator. Both teachers were selected as the winners of the respective awards. 

Lori Kremer, who received the 2022 June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award, was surprised  at her school, in Ferguson, MO, with the award and a $2,500 to use for STEM-related resources. The award, which is named in honor of Challenger Center Founding Chair, June Scobee Rodgers, recognizes an outstanding educator who understands the importance of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, and demonstrates enthusiasm and passion for teaching STEM subjects. Award nominations were made by Challenger Learning Centers across the country.

“It’s an honor to present Ms. Kremer with the 2022 June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award,” said Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis Executive Director Tasmyn Front. “Ms. Kremer consistently goes above and beyond to further her knowledge and skills in STEM and to bring that newfound knowledge to her students. Her energy and enthusiasm are infectious and she gets everyone around her excited about STEM.” 

Jackie Blumer was named the grand prize winner of the 2022 Trailblazing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Educator Award. The award celebrates K-12 teachers going above and beyond to inspire the next generation of explorers and innovators. Ms. Blumer was one of five finalists who were selected from over 40 nominations from around the country. In addition to receiving a $5,000 check both for her and her school, Ms. Blumer will also be attending an upcoming Blue Origin launch. 

“The inaugural Trailblazing STEM Educator Award winners are incredible people! We are pleased to recognize these passionate and inspirational educators who are invaluable to their communities. They are enabling a diverse and robust STEM next generation and together they are shaping the future of aerospace,” said Dan Dumbacher, executive director, AIAA.

More Photos: AIAA Trailblazing Award Presentation to Jackie Blumer

June Scobee Rodgers Innovative Educator Award Presentation to Lori Kremer

 About the Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis
The award-winning Challenger Learning Center, located at 205 Brotherton Road in Ferguson, Missouri, provides simulated space mission experiences and other science education programs for schools, scouts and corporate groups as well as for the general public. It features a replica Mission Control center and an orbiting space station. 

The Challenger Learning Center-St. Louis is a partnership of the Ferguson-Florissant School District, the Saint Louis Science Center and EducationPlus and is part of the Challenger Center for Space Science Education, an international not-for-profit education organization founded in April 1986 by the families of the astronauts tragically lost during the Challenger space shuttle mission. For more information, visit

About AIAA Foundation
The AIAA Foundation inspires and supports the next generation of aerospace professionals. From classroom to career, the AIAA Foundation enables innovative K-12 and university programming, including STEM classroom grants, scholarships, conferences, and hands-on competitions. Founded in 1996, the AIAA Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt educational organization connected to the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).