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August 12, 2011 at 15:26 PM EDT
The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence Receives $750,000 NASA "Summer of Innovation" Award

Award Brings The Earth We Share Science Camp to Los Angeles Middle Schools Students

TEWS-Space Race a Partnership with Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum and Los Angeles Unified School District

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 12, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has awarded $750,000 over four years to the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence (DJF) as part of the space agency's Summer of Innovation (SoI) program to give underserved students from Los Angeles an "out-of-this-world" experience.  

SoI is designed to promote science achievement and aspirations for students from underrepresented groups in science and technical fields—including girls and minorities.

DJF is a non-profit founded by former astronaut and first woman of color to go into space, Dr. Mae Jemison.  It is using the award to tailor its pioneering international science camp The Earth We Share (TEWS) with NASA-themed curriculum to create TEWS-Space Race, a weeklong summer science camp for middle school students in Compton, East, Central and South Central Los Angeles and Ventura County.

"The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence is one of the organizations selected by NASA to receive a 2011 'Summer of Innovation' award which will be implemented over four years," said Leland Melvin, NASA Associate Administrator for Education.  "TEWS Space-Race is characterized by a strong collaboration between school districts and education innovators to excite and engage students about science and to give teachers the tools they need to teach it."

TEWS-Space Race is a partnership between DJF and Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM) and builds on the strengths of both programs.  Since 1994, DJF through TEWS has brought together middle and high school students from across the United States and around the world to solve current global dilemmas using hands-on, problem solving methods.  For the past 10 years, the Compton-based TAM nonprofit flight school has taught disadvantaged students in the L.A. area how to fly airplanes and helicopters in exchange for the students' community service.

"All children are born interested in science.  We adults just have to keep them enthusiastic through high-quality science learning experiences that engages their innate creativity, curiosity and motivation," said Dr. Jemison, engineer, physician, college professor and entrepreneur.  "We thank NASA for this award that gives our partnership the chance to provide such an opportunity to open students' minds, hearts and eyes to their talent and new careers."  

During TEWS-Space Race teams of 10-15 students work together to solve a space-related challenge.   Such challenges include, "Design an Exercise Program and Equipment to Keep Teenagers Healthy on Mars," "What Are We Going to Do for Food on the Way to Alpha Centuri?" and "Design a Space-Based Remote Sensing System to Improve Health in the Least Developed Countries on Earth."

At the end of the week, the students present their solutions at TAM facilities at the Compton Airport where the students then participate in "Magic of Flight,"— a hands-on aviation program that includes flying and landing flight simulators, experiences with real airplanes and helicopters, aviation modeling challenges and adventures surrounding spaceflight.

"With this camp, aviation, aerospace and aeronautics are taking the place of crime, drugs and gang violence," said Robin Petgrave, Executive Director of Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum.  "Our mission is to expose kids to productive science and technology-related alternatives and show them these are exciting and attainable pathways within reach."

In addition to middle school students, TEWS-Space Race also targets elementary, middle and high school teachers from the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), Compton Unified School District (CUSD) and greater LA area.  Each week during a six week period, a group of teachers receive specialized training in TEWS' experiential methods and familiarization with NASA content, followed by a weeklong camp led by teachers who were trained the previous week.  The goal is to train 150 teachers over the school year and get up to 2,500 L.A.-area students participating in TEWS-Space Race camps held at LAUSD James Foshay Learning Center (with Obama Prep Middle School), and Wilmington Middle School, CUSD Whaley Middle School and Tutorific in Ventura.

Over the course of the program, TEWS-Space Race looks forward to building a cadre of teachers proficient in the TEWS methodology and Space-Race curriculum who will continue to use it throughout the school year.

During the school year, an integral part of TEWS-Space Race is ReBoost, a series of after-school and Saturday programs to maintain and build increased science achievement and awareness of space, aviation and technical careers.

For more information, please visit

About the Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence
The Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence (DJF) located in Houston, Texas was founded by Dr. Mae C. Jemison, former astronaut and first woman of color to orbit the earth, to honor the teaching principles and life accomplishments of her mother, Mrs. Dorothy M. Jemison, who taught in Chicago Public Schools for 25 years.  DJF develops and implements teaching methods, curricula, materials and programs that foster educational experiences resulting in individuals fully able to participate and contribute effectively and beneficially to society. DJF, a non-profit 501(c)3 foundation emphasizes building critical thinking skills, experiential teaching methods, science literacy, integrated approaches to learning and individual responsibility in achieving excellence.  DJF programs include: TEWS residential and day camps (that have been held throughout the U.S., Europe, and Africa), Women of Color in Flight, and Reality Leads Fantasy celebrations.

About Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum
Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM) located in Compton, California has taught disadvantaged students in the Los Angeles area how to fly airplanes and helicopters for more than ten years in exchange for the students' community service.  Tomorrow's Aeronautical Museum (TAM) operates a nonprofit flight academy, whose mission is to provide youth opportunities and resources in aviation and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) as an alternative to drugs, gang violence, and other self-destructive activities. TAM empowers at-risk youth to achieve their full potential through education, gain marketable skills, and become responsible citizens. TAM does this through aviation exploring, STEM enrichment, SAT and CAHSEE Preparation, homework assistance, tutoring, career development, leadership and life skills lessons while inspiring, motivating, and encouraging them to realize their dreams by making ethical, educated choices.  While honoring the legacy of the Tuskegee Airmen, TAM's motto is: Tomorrow's History Today.

About NASA's "Summer of Innovation"
The purpose of NASA's Summer of Innovation program is to expose middle school students in underprivileged communities to high-quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and show them how STEM is integrated into their everyday lives. The ultimate goal is increasing the number of future scientists, mathematicians and engineers and getting more low-income and minority students involved in these fields.

SOURCE Dorothy Jemison Foundation for Excellence

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