College of Education to mark 25th anniversary with book giveaway for teachers

April 28, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Purdue University's College of Education will distribute more than 3,000 copies of "Becoming a Spacewalker: My Journey to the Stars" to Indiana teachers to mark the college's 25th anniversary celebration.

 The college is partnering with Indiana's nine regional educational service centers in the book distribution. Fourth-grade teachers from each region's member schools will receive a copy of the book, written by Jerry Ross, an astronaut and Purdue graduate, and Susan Gunderson, College of Education faculty member. 

"Becoming a Spacewalker" is a nonfiction children's book about how a farm boy from Indiana became an astronaut who was launched into space seven times and who walked in space nine times. Both are world records.

Maryann Santos de Barona, dean of Purdue's College of Education, will distribute the books to the Tippecanoe School Corp., Lafayette School Corp. and West Lafayette School Corp. Wednesday (April 29) morning. This will be the first stop on a two-day tour to deliver books to the nine educational service centers.

"We believe in this book, and we believe in the power of getting it into the hands of teachers," Santos de Barona said. "On Purdue's Day of Giving on Wednesday, it is as important for Purdue to give as to receive. We are celebrating the College of Education's impact on the state by giving back and creating greater impact. We are committed to furthering STEM education for all students through integrated curriculum, not just through math and science classes, but in this case, through reading, too."

The College of Education also developed free educational resources to accompany the book, including standards-based science and literacy resources and integrated content developed with input and feedback from teachers. The online educational resources, which have both a STEM and a literacy track, are available at

The development of the book, the free online resources and the printing of 1,000 books was paid for by private support from the members of the college's Dean's Advisory Council.

Celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Purdue College of Education and 106 years of teacher education, the college works to meet the challenges of educating 21st century learners. The college helps transform the training and practice of teachers, counselors and educational leaders from pre-kindergarten through high school. Purdue College of Education graduates are prepared to address the critical educational challenges in schools, businesses and communities throughout the state, the nation and the world.

More information about the College of Education is available at

Media contact and source: Jennifer Jeffries, College of Education senior director of strategic communication and programs, 765-496-3545, 

Note to Journalists: Maryann Santos de Barona, dean of Purdue’s College of Education; Susan Gunderson, co-author of the book; Denny Cahill, executive director of the local educational service center; Scott Hanbeck, TSC superintendent; and Les Huddle, LSC superintendent, are expected to be at the Wabash Valley Educational Service Center, 3061 Benton St., West Lafayette, at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday (April 29) to begin the book giveaway. Media are invited.  

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