LOS ANGELES, Aug. 23, 2011 -- The Northrop Grumman Foundation is pleased to announce this year's Weightless Flights of Discovery "Class of 2011." Thirty math and science teachers from California and Nevada have been selected to participate in this year's teacher development program. The selected teachers will participate in a unique initiative that places them on micro-gravity flights to test Newton's Laws of Motion and in-turn energizes their students in the formative middle school years. The flight will take place in Long Beach, Calif. on Sept. 26, 2011.
The Northrop Grumman Foundation is partnering with the Zero Gravity Corporation to offer the Weightless Flights of Discovery program, one of several initiatives the Northrop Grumman Foundation sponsors to promote education and stimulate student interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields.
"Our Foundation's mission is to develop unique, sustainable programs that work on a national and grass roots level to inspire interest in STEM subjects, and the Weightless Flights of Discovery initiative is one of many that we undertake to follow through on that commitment," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation.
The teachers will participate in a full-day workshop several weeks before their flights. They then will work with their students to develop experiments to be conducted in lunar gravity, Martian gravity and weightlessness environments. Following the approximately two-hour flight, each teacher will share his or her experiences with their students back in the classroom using video and photos taken during the flight.
The Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program was created in response to a shortage of college graduates in the STEM disciplines within the United States, a development that bodes ill for the nation's industries that depend on talented scientists and mathematicians. The program targets middle-school math and science teachers primarily because studies have indicated that a child's interest in pursuing a certain career in the areas of science and math is sparked at the middle school level. Northrop Grumman developed the Weightless Flights of Discovery to engage teachers, because they serve as key influencers in the lives of students during these crucial years.
"Our nation's leaders, including President Obama, through his 'Educate to Innovate' initiative, recognize the need to strengthen STEM education in the United States," said Evers-Manly. "This program, along with others supported by the Northrop Grumman Foundation are very much aligned with this important national goal."
Demonstrating the program's overall impact, a poll conducted in 2009 of 230 teachers who participated in the first three years of the program revealed that 84.7% reported an increase in the number of students interested in pursuing science- and math-related careers; and 92.3% reporting a notable increase in their students' overall interest in science.
Teachers participating in the Los Angeles, Calif. flight include:
|Carlos Aguirre Jr||Simons Middle School||Pomona||California|
|Alice Barajas||Rivera Middle School||Pico Rivera||California|
|Paul Brown||O'Hara Park School||Oakley||California|
|Lewis Chappelear||Holmes International Middle School / James Monroe High School||North Hills||California|
|Tuchen Chiang||Dodson Magnet School||Rancho Palos Verdes||California|
|Jessica Cimino||Jim Bridger Middle School||Las Vegas||Nevada|
|Mary Colburn||Lennox Middle School||Lennox||California|
|Marcus Connaghan||Berendo Middle School||Los Angeles||California|
|Sandra Corvera||Harding Street Elementary School||Sylmar||California|
|Maria Garcia||R.H. Dana Middle School||Hawthorne||California|
|Lisa Garcia Cordes||Rivera Middle School||Pico Rivera||California|
|Bryan Gunner||San Onofre Elementary School||San Onofre||California|
|Christy Hansen||Rincon Middle School||Escondido||California|
|Haile Ucbagber||Charles T. Kranz Intermediate School||El Monte||California|
|Thomas Lau||Jerry D. Holland Middle School||Baldwin Park||California|
|DeAnna Lee-Rivers||Century Academy for Excellence||Inglewood||California|
|Brendan Leyden||Carnegie Middle School||Carson||California|
|Michelle Luke||Manhattan Beach Middle School||Manhattan Beach||California|
|Maggie Mabery||Manhattan Beach Middle School||Manhattan Beach||California|
|Diana Masuzumi||Delta Vista Middle School||Oakley||California|
|Bobbie Mitchell||Amargosa Creek Middle School||Lancaster||California|
|Shelly Munoz||Menifee Valley Middle School||Menifee||California|
|Marianna O'Brien||Lincoln Middle School||Santa Monica||California|
|Amy Rafkin||Belvedere Middle School||Los Angeles||California|
|Carla Recher||Piute Middle School||Lancaster||California|
|Michele Rega||Youth Science Center||Hacienda Heights||California|
|Dorothy Smith||Gifford C. Cole Middle School||Lancaster||California|
|Kris Torrey||R.H. Dana Middle School||Hawthorne||California|
|Angela Wong||Bud Carson Middle School||Hawthorne||California|
|Carol Wrabel||Lincoln Middle School||Santa Monica||California|