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02-032
For Release: May 4, 2002

Sally V. Harrington
Media Relations Office
216/433-2037
Sally.V.Harrington@nasa.gov


The Sky is the Limit at New Educational Facility

Students on the Eastern Shore of Virginia and Maryland, will soon be using the latest computer software and hardware as they learn how to design an aircraft and plot its flight or taking a virtual trip to the International Space Station.

NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, in partnership with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, Md., today dedicated an Aeronautics Educational Laboratory (AEL). It will be located at the new Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) Program site at Mary N. Smith Middle School in Accomac, Va.

Among the dignitaries present were Dr. Eucharia Nnadi, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Dr. Eddie Boyd, Dean, School of Business and Technology, both of the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Representing NASA were Mary Ann Stoutsenberger, of the Minority University Research and Education Division and John Hairston, Director of External Programs at Glenn.

The AEL is designed to stimulate students' curiosity as they explore the world of math and science using the latest computer technology. "We want to make science and discovery, exploration and research cool-exciting for kids to want to learn more and draw on natural human inquisitiveness," said NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe.

"The young people who participate in this program will be the engineers, researchers, and computer experts of tomorrow," said Hairston. "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 ."

SEMAA is an exciting program that exposes historically underrepresented students in grades K-12 to activities in the fields of science, engineering, mathematics, and technology. This hands-on program, free to the participating students, consists of three eight-week Saturday morning sessions featuring distinct curriculums for each grade level. They range from "Rocketeers," where kindergarteners explore dressing and eating while traveling in space to SEMAA internships that allow high school seniors to explore their own interests through individualized curriculums.

The Aeronautics Educational Laboratory (AEL) is a leap in classroom technology with a state-of-the-art, electronically enhanced computerized classroom that puts cutting-edge technology in the hands of students in grades seven through twelve. The laboratory was built and equipped with a combination of university and NASA funds for about $200,000 and is part of a nationwide network of similar programs across the country cosponsored by NASA.

SEMAA, a vision of former Congressman Louis Stokes of Cleveland, was developed in 1993 as a partnership between Glenn and Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland to foster understanding and enthusiasm for math and science in school-age children. Since then, SEMAA has grown from a single location to a multisite organization reaching nearly 4,000 students participating in programs around the country. SEMAA is funded by NASA's Office of Equal Employment Opportunities.

Additional information about SEMAA can be found at:
www.semaa.net

For more information about AEL, see
http://www.grc.nasa.gov/grc/WWW/MAEL/

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