Barbara's husband Clay says she filled out her application using one of the first personal computers. "It was one of the original Radio Shack TRS-80s, they were 48K and they were powerful," he says. "It's funny; we thought we had a leg up on other people who were using typewriters because we had a word processor we could work on."
In her application (.pdf, 1.13MB), Morgan stressed her love of teaching underserved populations as well as her method of active teaching, in which she the children conducted experiments, heard from experts and got out of the classroom. Going to space and bringing the experience back to her students, she said, would be the ultimate lesson.
"The more I learn, the better teacher I become," she wrote. "You can't really know about something unless you get a little of it on you. I want to get some stardust on me."
More than 11,000 other teachers from all the states and U.S. territories would also apply.
Each state and U.S. territory could select two teachers as semi-finalists. In Idaho, a committee of five people, chosen by Helen Williams of the Idaho Department of Education, reviewed Idaho's applicants and picked Barbara Morgan and Boise High teacher Dave Marquart.
As part of their final application to NASA, the two were given three questions to answer. Their responses were filmed at the Idaho Public Television studios.
From June 22-27, 1985, the 114 semifinalists went to Washington, DC for additional interviews, supervised by the Council of Chief State School Officers. President Reagan also addressed them.