Keynote Speaker

In May 2023, astronaut, STEAM advocate, and business pioneer John Shoffner served as Pilot on Axiom Space Ax-2 mission to the International Space Station (ISS). Throughout the duration of his mission, he hosted live events with schools around the world, demonstrating life in microgravity. While on orbit, Shoffner captured educational videos to excite the next generation of space enthusiasts, facilitated an International Art and Poetry contest that garnered over 930 entries from 26 countries, and participated in skinsuit testing in partnership with MIT that will shape the future of space exploration. The Ax-2 mission makes Shoffner the 598th person to orbit the Earth. He is also the first Alaska-born astronaut of record.

Shoffner is an accomplished aviator, skydiver, racecar driver and lifelong space enthusiast. He discovered his love for art and science at an early age, and it never left him. Although space was his first passion, he took an alternative career path. Shoffner formed Dura-Line Corporation into an international company, developing and patenting multiple processes for materials and methods for the placement of fiber optic cable during the 1980s. During his time as CEO, he made a lasting impact on the economic and industrial landscape of the Tennessee tri-state area, connecting a local industry to a global market. Dura-Line remains a world market leader.

Today, Shoffner aims to showcase the value that space commercialization brings to Earth. With his mission behind him and ambition to support the growth of STEAM education, Shoffner will continue to advance a robust program for innovative learning infused with growth mindset practices in partnership with MIT, International Space Station National Lab, Axiom Space, Crayola and more. In June 2023, Shoffner received the first-ever key to the city of Middlesboro, KY, honoring his dedication to improving local schools.

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The Kentucky Science Teachers Association is an affiliated chapter of the National Science Teaching Association
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