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99-75

For Release: September 24, 1999

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

Loria D. Williams
Warren County
(252/257-3115)


NASA Joins with Warren County School System on Educational Project That Opens the Skies to Students

CLEVELAND, OH - CLEVELAND, OH - Exploring the world of science and technology using the latest in computer hardware and software will lead many Warren County, NC students to new discoveries including how to design an aircraft and plot its flight.

The NASA Glenn Research Center and the County of Warren, Warren County Schools and Vance-Granville Community College have established a Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) for students in grades 5 through 9 with a focus on underserved students. SEMAA's purpose is to enhance the success and motivate greater numbers of students to pursue careers in science, math and related fields.

"Our children's future and the future of America depends on technology and the understanding of math and science," said NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin. "Having this academy and lab permanently on site will enable students and teachers to be directly involved in real science and technology while inspiring the students to pursue careers in science and engineering."

The program will feature an Aeronautics Education Laboratory (AEL) in Warren County High School. AEL is a leap in classroom technology, a state-of-the-art, electronically enhanced computerized classroom that puts cutting-edge technology in the hands of students in grades 9-12. At ten unique workstations, SEMAA students will explore satellite global positioning, remote sensing, amateur radio and aircraft design, and collect weather information in preparation for flight. The experience culminates with a virtual flight using a cockpit simulator or head mounted display.

"I am delighted that NASA is offering the students in the 1st Congressional District of North Carolina the opportunity to expand their knowledge of science and technology. This opportunity will prepare our students for the new Millennium," said Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton

Participating in the dedication ceremony was Vice Chairman Warren County Board of Commissioners Clinton Alston; Superintendent of Warren County Schools Dr. Carlinda Pursell, President of Vance-Granville Community College Robert Miller, Congresswoman Eva M. Clayton, NASA Administrator Daniel S. Goldin, NASA Office of Equal Opportunity Programs Associate Administrator George Reese, NASA Educational Outreach Specialist Bill Anderson and NASA Astronaut Joan Higginbotham.

A $525,000 two-year contract, provided by the office of Equal Opportunity Programs at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., was presented to the partnership for the establishment of the SEMAA program.

A vision of former Congressman Louis Stokes (D-OH), SEMAA was established in 1993 by Glenn and Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, OH, to foster understanding and enthusiasm in school-age children for science, math and technology fields. Since 1993, SEMAA has grown from a single site location to a multiple site organization reaching thousands of children in grades K-12 and their families. SEMAA has been replicated at Harris-Stowe State College, St. Louis, MO; Fernbank Science Center, Atlanta, GA; Sinclair Community College, Dayton, OH; Wayne County Community College, Detroit, MI; the University of the District of Columbia; Fenger Academy, Chicago, IL; and York College, Jamaica, NY. An additional site is planned for Morgan State University in Baltimore, MD.

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