DOTHAN—Students in the Dothan City Schools System will be able to participate in technology and engineering summer camps thanks to a $60,000 grant from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center awarded to the Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium at Troy University’s Dothan Campus.
TROY officials were joined by local and state education leaders at the Dothan Campus on Wednesday to announce the grant.
“The catalyst of this program is the idea of introducing math and science to students through activities,” said Dr. Lance Tatum, dean of the College of Education. “We’ve found that this has a positive effect when it comes to student interest in math, science and technology.”
The funding will enable the Consortium to expand its current aerospace education program for Wiregrass area teachers to include select Dothan City Schools’ students. Summer technology and engineering camps will be offered beginning in 2010 for students in grades 6-10.
The camps will feature technology instruction along with construction and design activities with a concentration in aerospace studies.
“I hope these programs create the kind of excitement that will make kids want to be a part of this,” said Dr. Sam Nichols, Dothan City School superintendent.
Sandy Armstrong, director of the Consortium, said the ultimate goal of the summer camps and activities is to encourage students to pursue careers in advanced fields such as engineering.
“We hope more students will be attracted to careers in science, technology, engineering and math, addressing one of the pressing needs to both NASA and regional industry,” Armstrong said.
In addition to the camps, the Consortium will offer year-round aerospace and technology opportunities including field trips to local industries and NASA facilities and an Aerospace Outreach Center on the Dothan Campus that will provide books, aerospace resources and equipment for classroom use by Wiregrass area teachers.
The announcement ceremony also included remarks from Dr. Wil Robertson of the Marshall Space Flight Center; Betty Peters, the District 2 Representative for the Alabama State Board of Education; Dr. Charlotte Williams, director of the Southeast Alabama Education Outreach Center and Terry Scott, director of the Dothan City Schools Theme Based Academies.
Following the announcement, a ceremony was held to plant an apple tree grown from seeds that were flown for eight days above the earth during the space shuttle mission STS-89.
The Wiregrass Math and Science Consortium is a joint venture of TROY’s Dothan Campus and local school systems. Its goal is to increase student performance in math and science and to provide professional development for area K-12 teachers.