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Renee Juhans

Headquarters, Washington October 21, 2002
(Phone: 202/358-1712)

Lori Rachul
Glenn Research Center
(Phone: 216/433-8806)

RELEASE: 02-203


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

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 on-
hand 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:

For more information about AEL, go to: