NASA Administrator Charles Bolden kicked off the agency's new Summer of Innovation initiative Thursday while at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calf.
The Summer of Innovation program will engage thousands of middle school students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) during the summer months when many students experience what's known as the "summer slide," a loss of skills acquired during the school year. The program is a cornerstone of the Educate to Innovate campaign announced by President Obama last November.
About 250 middle school students from the Los Angeles area participated in the kickoff festivities, which included an opportunity to interact with astronauts, NASA scientists and engineers, several hands-on educational activities; and a visit to the facility where the next Mars rover is being built. The students also were treated to musical entertainment provided by actor/rapper Daniel Curtis Lee.
"It is wonderful to feel the excitement generated by these students as they experienced first-hand what fascinating and challenging opportunities exist for students who follow STEM career paths," said Administrator Bolden. "I hope that by getting these students involved in NASA's missions and programs now, it may pave the way for a new generation of scientists and engineers, which is critically important to our nation's future."
NASA's Summer of Innovation program is a broad, nationwide effort that will leverage partnerships with academia, industry and government. This program and the agency's other education programs support NASA's commitment to excellence in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which will play a key role in preparing, inspiring, encouraging and nurturing the nation's future work force.
To learn more about this program and the opportunities available, visit http://www.nasa.gov/soi.
For information about NASA education programs, visit http://www.nasa.gov/education.