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04-044
For Release: June 18, 2004

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


THE SKY IS THE LIMIT AT NEW EDUCATIONAL FACILITY

Students in Marshall, Texas, will soon be using the latest computer software and hardware as they learn how to design an aircraft and plot its flight or take a virtual trip to the International Space Station.

NASA's Glenn Research Center located in Cleveland, Ohio, in partnership with Wiley College in Marshall, Texas, and the Johnson Space Center, Houston, today dedicated a new Aerospace Education Laboratory (AEL) that will be located at the college. It will be used in conjunction with the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) Program at Wiley College.

Among the dignitaries present at the dedication were Wiley College President Haywood L. Strickland, Marshall Mayor Ed Smith, and Congressman Max Sandlin, 1st Congressional District of Texas. Representing NASA were Dr. Adena Loston, Associate Administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters, and John Hairston, Director of External Programs at Glenn; Estella Gillette, Deputy Director of External Relations at Johnson; and Mike Kincaid, Director of the Education Office, at Johnson.

The AEL is designed to stimulate students' curiosity as they explore the world of math and science using the latest computer technology.

"The young people who participate in this program will be the next generation of explorers," said Hairston. "The goal of this program is to inspire them to excel in the areas of math, science and technology as only NASA can so they may reach their full potential."

The 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 AEL at Wiley College is part of a nationwide network of similar programs cosponsored by NASA that were built and equipped with a combination of local and NASA funds for about $200,000 each.

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 curricula 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.

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 twenty-three sites reaching over 62,000 students, parents and teachers participating in programs around the country. SEMAA is funded by NASA's Education Enterprise.

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

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

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