Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pacific Science Center Receives NASA Grant To Connect The Community To Our Universe

And now for some good news. I received the following notice from Wendy Malloy of the Pacific Science Center and I am more than happy to post it on behalf of PSC:

Pacific Science Center Receives NASA Grant To Connect The Community To Our Universe

SEATTLE – May 13, 2010 – The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) awarded a $1.1 million grant to Pacific Science Center to develop NASA Now, a program to increase educational outreach in earth and space sciences while inspiring young adults to pursue careers within the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.

As an independent not-for-profit educational institution, funding for this five-year grant will help Pacific Science Center expand its efforts to reach out to diverse audiences and provide science learning experiences to everyone, especially those who do not have easy access to such opportunities.

"Being selected by NASA for this award is gratifying for so many reasons,” said Bryce Seidl, president and CEO for Pacific Science Center. "This grant allows us to reach underserved audiences, takes advantage of our existing Discovery Corps program, links to other partners like the UW and aligns so well with the science outreach objectives of NASA.”

As one of the nine informal education providers selected in NASA's 2010 Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums, Pacific Science Center will build NASA Now using a three-tiered approach. The program's first objective is to present data from NASA in a clear and immersive way by updating the Science Center's planetarium with a state-of-the-art digital projector system.

Next, the Science Center plans to expand its outreach offerings to schools and communities by adding a second portable digital projector to its Science On Wheels Space Odyssey program, incorporating up-to-date science information and discoveries. In addition, NASA Now will subsidize the cost of this program delivery for schools with a high number of students in the free- and reduced-price lunch program.

Finally, the grant will allow Pacific Science Center to create the Track for Earth and Space Science Achievement (TESSA) program. As a component of the Science Center's youth development program, Discovery Corps, TESSA allows teens to explore careers in earth and space science alongside astronomy undergraduates.

TESSA's participating youth will help write content for Pacific Science Center's planetarium shows, assist in delivering programming, update our exhibit floor with current space science information and receive mentoring opportunities with the University of Washington Pre-MAP (Pre-Major in Astronomy Program).


"Science centers and planetariums contribute significantly to engaging people of all ages in science, technology, engineering and math," said James Stofan, acting associate administrator for NASA's Office of Education. "NASA wants to give the informal education community access to a variety of agency staff and resources while offering professional development opportunities for informal science educators and encouraging the formation of collaborative partnerships."

The selected organizations will partner with NASA's Museum Alliance, an Internet-based, national network of more than 400 science and nature centers, planetariums, museums, aquariums, zoos and related organizations. The projects will engage the public and educators by providing NASA-inspired space, science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning opportunities.

Congress initiated the Competitive Program for Science Museums and Planetariums in 2008. The first group of projects began in 2009. NASA's Office of Education and agency mission directorates collaborated to solicit and review the grant applications.

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