In each newsletter, we interview a leader in S.T.E.A.M. fields in Colorado Springs. So we decided to share them on the website on our blog as well! You will start to see them once a few weeks have past by! However, if you want first dibs on these awesome S.T.E.A.M. Leaders, you should SUBSCRIBE to our Bi-Weekly newsletter that comes out on Mondays!
This week's S.T.E.A.M. leader is Jeff Gonyea, author of Zack and Zoey Adventures and creator of STEM to Bloom, the only 100% Space and STEM magazine!
As a kid, Jeff's first love was outer space, and his daughter, Zoey, now 11 years old, loves space too! In 2014, Jeff was diagnosed with heart failure. He decided to switch careers so that he could spend time with his daughter. Jeff wanted to write a book to be able to leave something behind for Zoey.
Now Jeff is in great health, and since the career shift, he has written three books to make up the Zack and Zoey Adventures trilogy. He has to date released 33 issues of STEM to Bloom! He also works as the Program Manager of the Space Foundation Discovery Center.
Jeff appreciates Zoey's education at her school, but he found that she would only get 30 minutes of science two times each week for a total of one hour of science engagement. Since a picture book takes about 9-12 months to be published, he decided to write a magazine to release more fun space information and activities! He wants to give kids more engagement with science through his magazines and other future projects.
During the height of the COVID pandemic, his STEM to Bloom magazine sales plummeted because schools began no longer ordering the magazine for their students. Now he is considering a shift to a different type of engagement. He has enjoyed facilitating "Sidewalk Astronomy" programs and partners with other organizations like the Lowell Observatory and Science Communicators. Other ideas he spoke about were a potential Zack and Zoey robotics team or releasing more digital programs.
In recent years, interest in space has gone up. Jeff told me that out of 18,354 applicants to become an astronaut, only 12 are selected! He personally knows one of the applicants in the current wave who made the second round! Best of luck, Nicole! We hope that you are selected!