An Iowa native who’s a NASA administrator in Washington D.C. is back in Des Moines today (Thursday) to promote Mathematics, Science and Technology Education Day. Peg Steffen is program manager of NASA’s Explorers Schools program, which is designed to energize middle school students to look skyward in selecting a career path. Steffen says “We have a critical need in the near future for mathematics, scientists, engineers and technicians who will work our space programs, especially now with our new vision for space exploration” to return to the moon and go on to Mars. She says a skilled workforce is the only way to accomplish those lofty goals. Steffen says there are 100 NASA Explorers Schools nationwide and only one in Iowa — Sioux Central Community School in Sioux Rapids. Steffen says a team from Sioux Central was chosen last year to develop an experiment that was flown aboard a NASA aircraft that flies parabolic flights to simulate microgravity. As part of today’s events, Steffen and a group from Sioux Central had displays set up in the Iowa Capitol rotunda to explain the impact of the program to legislators and other state leaders. Steffen is a Dubuque native, with degrees from Drake and Iowa State, who taught school 25 years in the Ottumwa area before joining NASA.