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NASA Astronaut Helps Students See Learning In New Light

Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Headquarters, Washington March 17, 2003
(Phone: 202/358-0836)

Victoria Watson
Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club
(Phone: 718/379-2830)

March 17, 2003

RELEASE: 03-105

astronaut Leland D. Melvin Selected as an astronaut in 1998,.Leland D. Melvin received a bachelor of science degree in chemistry from the University of Richmond and a master of science degree in materials science engineering from the University of Virginia.

NASA astronaut and former NFL player Leland Melvin will visit with more than 450, K-12 students from the Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club & Community Center, and their teachers, on Wednesday, March 19 at 4:15 p.m. at M.S. 142, 3750 Baychester Avenue, Bronx, N.Y.

Melvin will explain NASA's Educator Astronaut Program (EAP) and encourage interest among young people in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Melvin, co-program manager of the EAP, along with co-program manager Debbie Brown, have criss-crossed the country since the Program's inception in January. They meet face-to-face with students and teachers as a part of NASA's effort to connect space exploration with the classroom and to inspire the next generation of explorers.

"In addition to showing students just how much fun science learning can be, I believe it is essential to highlight the need for students to develop an academic and career plan of action that includes alternatives, a plan B, if you will," Melvin said. Injured at the cusp of his professional football career, Melvin pursued an alternative passion for engineering that led to his application to and acceptance into NASA's Permanent Astronaut Corps in 1998.

"Our young people are thrilled about a NASA astronaut coming to visit the Bronx," said Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club & Community Center's Executive Director Charles Rosen. "This is a rare opportunity for the children of our community to get revved about learning science by meeting a young astronaut whose background is similar to their own in many ways. We're delighted to host him and help support the NASA Educator Astronaut Program," he said.

Through the EAP, NASA, for the first time, is recruiting individuals with specific experience and expertise in K-12 education, and planning to send them into space as fully trained NASA astronauts. Melvin will encourage the Center's students to nominate their teachers for the EAP. The EAP application deadline is April 30, 2003.

For more information about the EAP, application process, and eligibility requirements, on the Internet, visits the NASA EAP Web site at:

For more information about other NASA education initiatives, visit:

The Gloria Wise Boys & Girls Club & Community Center advocates and develops social, recreational and educational programs that connect young people with opportunities for personal growth and achievement. Over the past 25 years, the Center has provided hundreds of girls and boys with daily, guidance-oriented character development programs, firmly establishing a reputation as "The Positive Place for Kids" in the North East Bronx.

Melvin will also make an earlier appearance in the Bronx on March 19 at 3:00 p.m. at Intermediate School 162 as a part of the NASA Starship 2040 exhibit tour of New York State, hosted in the Bronx by the Office of Congressman Jose E. Serrano. The tour of Starship 2040, a mock-up of a futuristic spaceliner, highlights the significant role New York plays in America's space program. Starship 2040 is used as an opportunity to excite students about future possibilities and encourage an interest in science.

To schedule an interview with Melvin, in conjunction with his Bronx area appearances, contact Gretchen Cook-Anderson at: 202/358-0836.

For more information about NASA on the Internet, visit:

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