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/433-8806) RELEASE: 02-203
October 21, 2002
NASA & PARTNERS DEDICATE NEW EDUCATIONAL FACILITIES NASA, in partnership with Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Miami, and Martinsville City Schools in Martinsville, Va., dedicated two new educational laboratories today. The facilities will send students off to a flying start, as they explore the world of math and science using modern computer technology. Through the newly dedicated Aerospace Educational Laboratory (AEL), which is a state-of-the-art, electronically enhanced computerized classroom, students will discover the concept of flight, as they design an aircraft and plot its flight, or take a virtual trip to the International Space Station. "The AEL is designed to stimulate the curiosity of students. We want to make science, discovery, exploration and research exciting to engage the imagination of the Nation's youth and inspire them to pursue careers in science, mathematics, engineering and technology," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe. In Miami, Merrett Stierheim, superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Dr. Albert E. Smith, president of Florida Memorial College; and Rep. Carrie P. Meek, 17th Congressional District participated in the dedication. Dr. Ira R. Trollinger, superintendent, Martinsville City Schools; Joseph Finley, chairman, Martinsville City School Board; and Rep. Virgil H. Goode, Jr., 5th District were onhand to introduce students to the classroom in Martinsville. The laboratories are located at the new Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) Program sites in Miami Central Senior High School and in the
Martinsville Middle School. The laboratories are part of a nationwide network of similar facilities co-sponsored by NASA and education organizations. SEMAA exposes historically underrepresented students in grades K-12 to activities in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics and technology. The program consists of three eight-week, Saturday morning sessions with distinct curricula for each grade level. There are no student fees. "The young people who participate in this program will be the engineers, researchers, and computer experts of tomorrow," said John Hairston, director of External Programs at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, which manages the program. "The goal of this program is to inspire them to excel in the areas of math, science and technology, so they may reach their full potential," he said. SEMAA, a vision of former Cleveland congressman Louis Stokes, was developed in 1993 through a partnership between Glenn and Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland to foster understanding and enthusiasm for math and science in school children. Since then, SEMAA has grown from a single location to 19 sites reaching more than 45,000 students, parents and teachers around the country. NASA's Office of Equal Employment and Opportunities in Washington funds the SEMAA program. Additional information about SEMAA is at: www.semaa.net For more information about AEL, go to: www.grc.nasa.gov/WWW/MAEL/ -end-