CHALLENGER CENTER TAKES OFF WITH LOCKHEED MARTIN GRANT
MOORESTOWN, NJ, 20-SEP-05 --
A $500,000 grant from Lockheed Martin formally launched a fundraising campaign to build a Challenger Center, a hands-on space simulation learning center, in Mt. Laurel.
The Educational Information Resource Center (EIRC), a public agency serving New Jersey educators, is spearheading the project to have the Challenger Center open for “missions” in late 2007. Current plans call for a state-of-the-art facility designed by Cebellis Ecoplan on the grounds of Burlington County Community College’s Mt. Laurel campus.
“Today, Lockheed Martin is demonstrating why we were so anxious, and so confident, that Burlington County was the right place for a regional Challenger Center,” Burlington County Freeholder Deputy Director Vincent R. Farias said. “We know many of our business partners will follow Lockheed Martin’s lead to embrace this facility and support a state-of-the-art educational facility here.”
The premise of the Challenger Center is to introduce elementary, middle and high school students to math, engineering and science concepts through a simulated space mission. A student’s visit to the Challenger Center is the final phase of a six week mission preparation, which includes in-class curriculum.
“It’s clear that a trip to the Challenger Center is more than just a field trip,” said Charles Ivory, EIRC director. “It is a deeply grounded learning experience that engages students, transforming them into scientists, engineers or researchers, and places them in a simulated space mission where they solve real-life challenges.”
Lockheed Martin supports several Challenger Centers across the United States. Supporting excellence in math, science and engineering is a key component of the company’s community outreach.
“Our passion is rocket science,” said Orlando Carvalho, vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin’s business in Moorestown. “In our high-tech world, we need to grow an appreciation of the magic and creativity that comes from math, science and engineering, and the Challenger Center will bring that magic to thousands of Delaware Valley children.”