Beth Schmid Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1760) Jill Bratina Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN (Phone: 615

/343-6866) RELEASE: 98-207

November 17, 1998

NASA AND VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCE SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM NASA and Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, have joined to sponsor a "Chroniclers of Discovery" Scholarship Program to help inspire and train students to become effective communicators of science, engineering, and technology to the public. The two-tier scholarship combines the practical scientific and engineering experience of NASA; the academic expertise of Vanderbilt; the hands-on experience of the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL; the science communications background of the Discovery Channel, Bethesda, MD; and the resources of the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium and the National Space Grant College & Fellowship Program. At the ninth/tenth grade level, scholarships will enable students to participate in a Science Communication Space Academy, and at the high school senior level, one student will win a fulltuition scholarship to attend Vanderbilt University, funded by NASA through the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. "NASA is committed to communicating to the American public what we learn through our mission of scientific research, space exploration and technology development, to benefit the quality of life on Earth," said Frank Owens, director of NASA's Education Division. "This requires a new emphasis in preparing students for both technical and communications professions. This new educational program demonstrates our commitment to this important realization." The scholarships will be awarded in national competitions open to all eligible students. To be eligible, the student must also be accepted for admission to Vanderbilt. The winning high school senior then receives a full-tuition scholarship to

Vanderbilt, which offers an interdisciplinary major in science communication. "The American public needs to be able to make informed decisions about the scientific and technological issues facing our society," said Dr. Rick Chappell, director of Vanderbilt's Office of Science and Research Communications. "We've seen a growing demand over the years for professional communicators who are trained in the sciences, and that's why we developed the Chroniclers of Discovery program." In addition to being given the scholarship, the student also will be invited to participate in a summer work-study program at the Discovery Channel, where he or she will be able to develop science communication skills in a practical setting. Discovery is helping to promote the scholarships through its popular educational programs and web site for teachers. Between 20 and 40 ninth and tenth grade winners will receive a scholarship to a special Science Communications Space Academy at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center. These scholarships are funded by several state members of NASA's Space Grant Consortium National Network. Students will spend a week learning about science, astronauts and space, and will take part in a simulated space flight. In addition, the student astronauts will prepare for and participate in a simulated press conference once they've "landed" back on Earth, where they will be asked to communicate their science results and space flight experience in clear and interesting terms. Applicants will submit biographical information, teacher recommendations, and a written or videotaped story describing, in accurate and compelling terms, a past scientific discovery or technological advance. Entries -- following a specific set of guidelines -- are due by Jan. 15, 1999. A panel comprised of representatives from different science communications careers and from the supporting organizations will choose the winner of the Vanderbilt tuition scholarship. The Space Academy winners will be chosen by the Space Grant Consortia in their respective states. The Vanderbilt scholarship recipient will be honored at a special symposium on communicating discovery to be held at Vanderbilt in April 1999. Interested high school seniors should contact Vanderbilt University Admissions (615/322-2561) for information and

guidelines on the Vanderbilt Scholarship. Ninth and tenth grade students should contact the U.S. Space and Rocket Center (1-800894-2575) for information and guidelines on the Science Communication Space Academy scholarships. -end-