Donald Savage Headquarters, Washington (Phone: 202/358-1547) RELEASE: 01-175

Aug. 30, 2001

NASA GRANTS OPEN THE STARS TO SELECTED EDUCATORS NASA today announced a big step toward improving the way it brings space science to local communities around the country. The agency's Office of Space Science, at its headquarters in Washington, selected seven recipients for grants to help space scientists become involved in educational activities, build partnerships between the space science and education communities, and serve as the regional points-of-contact for space scientists and educators seeking information on and involvement in NASA's Space Science education and outreach program. In addition, the program is designed to provide meaningful opportunities for groups that might not ordinarily participate in NASA research and education programs. "This new selection will deepen connections between NASA's Office of Space Science and educators across the country and improve our ability to search out productive opportunities for the space science community to participate in education and public outreach," said Dr. Jeffrey Rosendhal, Director of Education and Public Outreach for NASA's Office of Space Science. "We also expect this to provide an injection of fresh ideas and new capabilities to our educational and public outreach team." A representative at each selected institution will serve as a bridge between the space science and local and regional education communities, including formal education, informal education, and public outreach organizations. "One goal of this program is to channel the expertise of the space science community into directions that will best benefit the educational process and contribute to the public understanding of space science," added Dr. Rosendhal.

"We want to encourage scientists working on NASA-funded research in communities throughout the country to get involved in bringing space science into the local educational systems and communities in creative ways. The Broker/Facilitators we selected today will work with these scientists to bring space science to areas such as local schools, museums, libraries, service organizations and others to help meet the unique needs of each region," he said. The program will work to build partnerships between those scientists and professional educators to ensure both the scientific integrity and the educational usefulness of the projects and products that are created. Each award is for 5 years, at approximately $300K per year, starting in January 2002. The individuals and institutions receiving the awards are: * Dr. Kathleen Johnson, Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston * Dr. Julie H. Lutz, University of Washington, Seattle * Dr. Cherilynn A. Morrow, Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo. * Dr. Nitin Naik, Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, W. Va. * Dr. Carolyn C. Narasimhan, Depaul University, Chicago * Dr. Cassandra Runyon, College of Charleston, Charleston, S.C. * Dr. Cary I. Sneider, Museum of Science, Boston -end-