A video producer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has been nominated for a regional Emmy award – the first Emmy nomination ever received for work at the Marshall Center. The award will be presented Jan. 24 in Nashville, Tenn. 

Mick Speer, a writer and producer for NASA Marshall Television, co-wrote and produced an episode of “NASA CONNECT,” an educational series designed to enhance math, science and technology studies for middle school students. His Emmy-nominated episode features NASA employees at the Marshall Center, as well as students from two Huntsville schools. The award-winning series, seen by more than 9 million students in approximately 7,600 American schools, airs on PBS affiliates, cable access stations and NASA TV. 

“The thought of being recognized for doing a job I love is truly a rewarding feeling,” said Speer, a Huntsville native who has been at the Marshall Center since 1999. “To be nominated for a regional Emmy says the multimedia team is doing a great job of spreading NASA’s vision of inspiring the next generation of explorers. The entire production has been a great experience.”

This is Speer’s first Emmy nomination. He is employed by ARCATA Associates, Inc. in Huntsville, the primary contractor for Marshall TV. Prior to joining the Marshall team, he was awarded 12 local “ADDYs” – an advertising industry award presented by the American Advertising Federation – for television commercials he directed and produced for Vision Design Teleproduction of Pensacola, Fla. While serving in the U.S. Navy, he received a bachelor’s degree in humanities from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.

The episode of NASA CONNECT produced by Speer is one of the two nominees in the Children’s/Educational category for this region. Entitled “Festival of Flight: Opening Space for the Next Generation of Explorers,” the episode features Marshall employees and students from Randolph School and Williams Technology Middle School. The 28-minute episode focuses on Sir Isaac Newton’s first, second and third laws of gravity and how they relate to NASA’s efforts in developing the next generation of space transportation. Like all the CONNECT segments, the episode was accompanied by a Web-based educator’s guide describing hands-on and Web activities to supplement its themes.

“NASA CONNECT provides educators with tools that utilize NASA assets that allow teachers and students to share in the adventure of exploration – tools that can be used to teach applications of mathematics and science in a fun and exciting,” said Tammy Rowan, CONNECT Coordinating Producer and education specialist at Marshall Center. “This total learning experience enhances students’ ability to think critically, enabling them to apply not only what they have learned, but more importantly the process of learning, to various life situations.”

Managed for NASA at the agency’s Langley Research Center in Langley, Va., the CONNECT series has won numerous awards, including recognition for creative excellence at the 2002 International Film and Video Festival held in Los Angeles. The series also has been awarded six regional Emmys, including the award for children’s programming from the Washington chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

The Nashville/Midsouth Chapter of NATAS includes Tennessee, most of North Carolina and the Huntsville television market. Founded in 1984, the chapter awards scholarships, sponsors a media literacy program and participates in judging Emmy entries at the regional and national levels. NATAS is a non-profit, professional organization dedicated to improving the quality of television at all levels.

For more information about NASA CONNECT, visit the Web site at: