Amy Johnson
NASA Langley Research Center
757-864-7022 / 757-272-9859
RELEASE : 12-016
NASA Awareness Week in Charlotte to Reach Thousands, Media Invited
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Taking full court advantage of a grand audience, NASA will bring the excitement of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) to Charlotte during the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) tournament, Feb. 27 - March 3.

This annual event for historically black colleges and universities showcases six days of men's and women's basketball at the Time Warner Cable Arena in downtown Charlotte. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the CIAA and the seventh year of NASA's participation.

"This is a great venue to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists," said Roger Hathaway, director of education at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.

On Wednesday, Feb. 29, NASA STEM Awareness week kicks off with a special "Education Day" event from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. at the Charlotte Convention Center. Thousands of local middle and high school students will be in attendance and will hear from motivational speaker Calvin Mackie, as well as see a video message from NASA's Associate Administrator for Education and former astronaut Leland Melvin. In addition to NASA's general programmatic exhibits, students this year will get to experience the "From Rockets to Racecars" exhibit, which will include an appearance by NASCAR driver Ryan Gifford.

Gifford became the first African-American in NASCAR K&N Pro Series East History to win a pole position on June 6, 2010. He is also a part of NASCAR's Drive for Diversity program.

From Feb. 28 - March 3, tournament attendees can visit the NASA booth at the arena for hands-on activities and educational materials. NASA will also participate at the CIAA Career Expo at the convention center from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday, March 1. College students interested in learning more about internships with NASA are encouraged to stop by.

"NASA Awareness in Charlotte at the CIAA is a great way to show how NASA can engage the public in a non-traditional venue," Hathaway said.

For more information about NASA education programs, visit:

For more information about the CIAA, visit:

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