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January 16, 2002

Release: 02-02

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A select group of teachers and their students are benefiting from a unique education partnership between the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center's education office, Edwards, Calif., and California State University, Los Angeles. The goal of this education project entitled "Excellence in Science and Math Education for Hard-to-Staff Urban Schools" is to provide the district schools of Los Angeles County with well-trained, certified science teachers. Twenty-three teachers from all grade levels are enrolled in a program leading to state certification in science or a master's degree in science education.

The concept for this educational program came from T. Jean Adenika-Morrow, Ph.D., principal investigator and professor of science education at California State University, Los Angeles. Her dream of engaging the socially disadvantaged in science has changed the lives of many teachers and their students.

"The vision of this program is to create teachers who function at such a level of excellence that they accomplish extraordinary results under ordinary circumstances. The ultimate beneficiaries of our dynamic partnership are our pupils, many of whom live at the poverty level," explained Marianne McCarthy, Ph.D., director of education at NASA Dryden.

As part of this outstanding program, NASA Dryden hosted the teachers for a workshop Jan. 12. The educators were immersed in NASA's research through direct interaction with educational specialists. Activities were incorporated into the workshop to help teachers adapt new information, experiences and materials into their specific educational situations. The workshop focused on NASA Dryden's mission of aerospace flight research and how it may be used as a context for developing a thematic approach.

This educational partnership is the second Mathematics, Science and Technology Award for Teacher and Curriculum Enhancement Program (MASTAP) between NASA Dryden and California State University, Los Angeles. The primary purpose of this NASA Headquarters-sponsored award is to encourage underrepresented groups to pursue careers in the mathematics, science and technical fields by supporting historically black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, and tribal colleges and universities.


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