Kevin Simmons


Simmons K 2012


Contact Kevin:   Email     LinkedIn

Links:   BLUECUBE Aerospace      Tekna-Theos Inc.



Kevin Simmons is an award winning educator and entrepreneur whose focus is the intersection of Aerospace, Education, and Entrepreneurial endeavors.  He is actively advocates for the use of CubeSats and Geospatial Information Systems as tools to inspire young students.

Teaching Experiences

For almost a decade chemistry, physics, statistics, and aerospace were among the many subjects Kevin taught to junior high and senior high students in Florida.  Prior to teaching Kevin served as an Infantry lieutenant in the US Army, industrial chemist, and laboratory technician. He last taught at Eagles View Academy in Jacksonville, Florida.

Kevin believes, “Exciting aerospace education is a key to increasing the number of competent American scientists and engineers.”  In June, 2002, Simmons founded TEKNA-THEOS Inc. (TTI), a student-run, nonprofit corporation.  TTI received numerous grants and awards for aerospace education programs and his students effectively advocated for support of a wide array of Florida aerospace endeavors with the state legislature and United States Congress.    Under Simmons’ guidance, TTI students designed a prototype bioreactor built by NASA contractors to investigate microgravity induced astronaut bone loss.  He and his students have taken the bioreactor components aboard Zero-G Corporation flights for testing in 2006, 2007, and 2008.  TEKNA-THEOS Inc. was honored as an exemplary school program in 2004.

Selected as a 2009-2011 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Kevin spent his fellowship years at the National Science Foundation’s Engineering Directorate, Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships.  Simmons served as the division’s representative to the Haiti disaster and Gulf Oil Spill Rapid Working Groups, and has specifically supported the division’s academic programs.  He has presented his findings to NSF and other agency staff, at the 2010 National Space Symposium and at the 2010 International Space Development Conference.

In addition to starting a non-profit corporation with his students while a teacher Kevin also introduced school chess clubs, sponsored student governments, coached district champion varsity volleyball teams, and sponsored numerous winning high school engineering teams.  Before becoming a teacher Kevin worked in research and industrial laboratories including Oncology at Wake Forest’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Genetics, Plant Pathology, and Biochemistry at NCSU, Neuropharmacology at the National Institutes of Environmental Health Sciences, Sphinx Biotechnologies, and GeoChem Inc.

Student-Centered Learning and Projects

BLUECUBE – To Build, Launch, Utilize, and Educate Using CubeSats – (2010-Present)

BLUECUBE proposes altering current educational practices by using CubeSats as a vehicle for designing, building and evaluating projects that focus on issues in a particular community. CubeSats allow educators and students to experience authentic science, conduct relevant research, and acquire marketable skills for the 21st Century workforce. Research shows that students are better engaged by hands‐on instruction and learn through experience. Project Based Learning and Systems Engineering allow students to apply the Scientific and Engineering Methods to real world problem solving

Organized and Sponsored international student teams for the NASA/National Space Society International Space Settlement Contest (2010-2012)

  • Team An Terra Nua (Second Place) students from Japan, India, Ireland, and US presented at ISDC, Washington D.C., 2012
  • Team HELIOS (Honorable Mention) students from Ireland, Japan, and US presented at ISDC, Huntsville, AL, 2011
  • Team JICU (Third Place) first ISDC team with team members from Japan, Ireland, and the U.S. presented at ISDC, Chicago, 2010

Organized and Sponsored Pete Conrad Spirit of Innovation Teams (2007 and 2009)

  • Aerospace Division – National Winning Team “Algae Bioreactors on the Moon”, 2009
  • The X-Prize – Student Competition National Finalists – The “TEKNA-THEOS Inc. Girls”, 2007

Program Facilitator, Aviation Center of Excellence, Florida Community College of Jacksonville, 2009   Developed and planned meals, transportation, materials, etc. for Aviation Center’s 2009 Space Camp, Governor’s Destination Space Camp, and Air Traffic Control Summer Experience Camp.  Created and taught all Aviation Center of Excellence Space Camps (2006-2011)

Founder and Teacher, TEKNA-THEOS Inc.  Created and managed a student run, non-profit education corporation.  TTI has collaborated with Moseley Technical Services Inc. to develop a prototype spaceflight bioreactor.


  • Awarded Florida Space Research and Education Grant, 2009
  • Awarded Florida Space Grant Research and Education Grant, 2004-05
  • Awarded two FSGC Aerospace and Education Grants, 2003-2005
  • First high school entity to receive the Florida Space Grant Consortium Research and Education Grant, 2003-04

Education/Outreach Activities

  • Served as Track Chair – Education Planning Committee for the International Space Development Conference, 2012
  • Selected through NASA/NSTA opportunity to fly Zero G CubeSat experiment, 2010
  • Coached Mars Desert Research, TARC rocket, and Conrad Innovation teams, 2009
  • Taught DESTINATION SPACE Camp at FCCJ’s Aviation Center of Excellence, 2009
  • Selected to fly Zero G fourth time; 3rd time with students, 2009
  • Selected to fly Zero G third time; 2nd time with students, 2008
  • Created 120 hour curriculum and alternative learning task list for Governor’s gifted

‘DESTINATION SPACE 2009 space camp for FCCJ Aviation Center, 2008

  • Organized Inquiry based teacher workshop in Jacksonville for SPACE FLORIDA, 2008
  • Coached 1st and 2nd place Junior high teams, 2nd place High School team in Ansari Foundation WHAT IF science competition, 2008
  • Appointed to create and facilitate monthly Florida Community of College- Aviation

Center of Excellence- Aerospace Club, 2008-2009

  • Created and oversaw Nat’l Space Day event “Aerospace Day” with FCCJ’s ACE, 2007
  • Invited guests of SPACE FLORIDA for STS-116, -117, 118 Launches, 2006-2007
  • Flew bioreactor hardware on ZERO-G on a Northrop Grumman’s Weightless Flights of Discovery, 2006
  • Created and taught FCCJ-Aviation Center of Excellence’s first Math/Science Summer


  • Organized six county regional AEROSPACE DAYS event for northeast Florida, 2006
  • Developed two county SPACE DAY event with NASA and Aerospace entities, 2005
  • Participated in the FSGC/UNF Biological Crystals in Space- Advanced Student Workshops for two years, 2003, 2004

Aerospace Advocacy and Public Policy Activities

  • AIAA Congressional Visits Day Activities 2009-2012 (Florida Team Captain 2012)
  • As Public Policy Chair, led Cape Canaveral Section to Third Place finish in the 2011-2012 AIAA Public Policy Section Award, 2012
  • Co-Chaired Education and Outreach Track for the National Space Society’s 2012 International Space Development Conference, 2012
  • Elected Public Policy Chair, Cape Canaveral Section Council, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Cape Canaveral Section, 2010-2012
  • Elected to the Cape Canaveral Section Council, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Cape Canaveral Section (Member-at-Large), 2009, 2013
  • Education Committee Advisor to the Pete Conrad Foundation, 2009-2010
  • Florida Team Captain, AIAA Congressional Visit Day, 2010-2013
  • Advocated for NASA’s budget with Space Exploration Alliance on Capitol Hill, 2010-2013
  • Member, and on Education Committee, National Space Society, 2010-2012
  • Advocate to Congress for DOE Earmark with high school students, 2005-07

Education / Licenses / Certifications

M.S. Space Studies – Aerospace Science, American Military University, 2014 (Expected)

B.S. Biochemistry, North Carolina State University, 1992

B.A. Chemistry, North Carolina State University, 1992

-Passed Fundamentals of Engineering Exam (EIT), 1997

-Association of Christian Teachers and Schools Teaching Certificate, 2001-2005

-Florida Department of Education Teaching Certificate, 2006-2008

-Florida Association of Christian Colleges and Schools Teaching Certificate

(Chemistry Endorsement), 2006-2009


Grants, Honors, and Recognitions

-Selected as a 2009-2011 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellow

-Recognized on floor of Florida Senate and worked to pass Aerospace Resolution [Senate

Resolution #1446] (2008)

-Recipient of the Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award from the Space Foundation,

NASA, and the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, 2008

-Selected as a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison, 2008-2009

-Honored / recognized with resolution 2008-743 by the Jacksonville City Council, 2008

-Recognized on floor of Florida Legislature by Rep. Carroll; met Lt Gov. Kottkamp, 2007

-Chosen to select, train and fly 1st High School team to conduct weightless flight

experiment aboard Zero G Corporation aircraft w/ national press coverage, 2007

-Recognized on floor of Florida Legislature; met Governor Bush/Lt Gov. Jennings, 2006

-Ronald Wilson Reagan National Leadership Award; Tau Kappa Epsilon, 1989

-Life Time Member, American Junior Academy of Science; 1987


Appearances, Publications, Media, and Presentations


Panel Appearances

-Wilson Center for International Studies – Earth Day Panel “The Next Generation of Earth System Education” (2013)

-NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center’s Annual Director’s Meeting – Supplemental Research Funding Opportunities, Alexandria, Virginia (2013)

-Woodrow Wilson Center for International Studies Center on Capitol Hill panel series “Targeting Top Teachers for Superior STEM Education” event/targeting-top-teachers-for-superior-stem-education (2011)


-Characterization of breast cancer for treatment and prognosis of the disease.  K. Simmons, NAAS/AJAS Directory and Proceedings, 1987.  Poster presented at AJAS National Conference, Chicago, Illinois, January 1987.

-Estrogen and antiestrogen effects on breast cancer under “in vitro” and “in vivo” conditions.  TE Kute, R Long, K Simmons, San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium, 1986.


-Acute repeated nicotine injections increase enkephalin but not AP-1 DNA binding in rat adrenal. M McMillian, P Hudson, K Simmons, D Dreyer, J Hone, K Pennypacker.  Molecular Brain Research 1995 Vol.31, pg. 210-214

-Dexamethasone and forskolin synergistically increase [Met5]enkephalin accumulation in mixed brain cell cultures.  Brain Research 1996 Aug 19; 730(1-2):67-74


-Sex Differences in NFKB binding and enkephalin peptide levels in rat spleen.  M McMillian, P Hudson, D Dreyer, J Hong, K Simmons, K Pennypacker.  (Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communication) 1995

-Neuronal-glial co-cultures as a model to study reactive gliosis.  M McMillian, L Thai, G-C Wu, K Simmons, J O’Callaghan, J Hong, and K Pennypacker.  (Society for Neuroscience) 1995


-AD ASTRA magazine article, Spring 2012, “Observations from the 2012 Legislative Blitz”, 2012

-American Society of Engineering Education’s Engineering – Go For It Feature Article “Unlimited Space”, 2011

Media Coverage

-CNN coverage of the first high school student research flight aboard Zero G, March 2007 at



-“Veterans Research Supplement” at request of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, the Office of Secretary of Defense – Director of Basic Research, and the Director of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 2012 and 2013

-“Industry/University Cooperative Research Centers at the National Science Foundation”, presented to Washington Internship for Students and Engineering at NSF, 2012 and 2013

-“Opportunities for Veterans at the National Science Foundation” at the National Veterans Small Business Conferences, 2011-2013

-26th National Space Symposium – Teacher Liaison Workshop, Colorado Springs, 2010

-TEACHSPACE classes at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach campus, 2006

-The International Space Development Conference (Chicago): “The History of TEKNA-THEOS Inc.”, and the “Use of Contests and Grants to Promote Education”, 2010

-Presented at an American Chemistry Society meeting, Jacksonville (2006)

-Invited speaker at SPACE FLORIDA Education Committee Meeting, 2007

-National Space Grant Directors Meeting- Cocoa Beach, Florida, 2005

-Florida League of Christian Schools and Association of Christian Schools International Annual Conventions, 2001-2005