Challenger Center Supports NASA’s Renewed Investment in Education

Alexandria, VA – Challenger Center for Space Science Education supports NASA’s investment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in its budget released yesterday. The changing demographics of our nation make it imperative that the science community, and NASA in particular, attract diverse youth who will be able to meet the needs of a versatile technical and scientific future workforce. Reports warn that the United States needs to make a greater investment in STEM education to maintain and increase the skilled workforce needed in the 21st century. We need programs that give students the opportunity to engage in activities that will cause them to ask questions and think like scientists.

Our Challenger Learning Centers play a key role in engaging young Americans in NASA’s missions. We uniquely engage students in immersive, hands-on experiences that introduce students to NASA’s goals and the thrill of space flight and discovery.

“Each and every day at our network of Challenger Learning Centers children and young adults are embarking on simulated space missions to explore our solar system,” said Challenger Center President Dan Barstow. “And they are conducting research and experiments to expand their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” he continued.

“The future is unfolding before us now, and it couldn’t be more exciting…Kids will be able to realistically envision a career that involves space, either going there or using it,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden at today’s National Press Club event where he further outlined President Obama’s plans for NASA and America’s path forward in space.

“We believe that the way to engage students in STEM education is by inspiring them,” said Challenger Center Founding Chairman, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers. “Middle school students who experience being a scientist or engineer, and who experience it successfully, are more likely to take more STEM courses in high school.”

The following people are available for interviews to discuss this week’s announcement about NASA’s increased budget for education and the importance of STEM education:

– Dan Barstow, Challenger Center President
– Bill Readdy, Chair of the Board, former NASA astronaut
– Dr. Scott Parazynski, Chair-Elect, former NASA astronaut
– Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, Founding Chairman

About Challenger Center

Using space exploration as a theme and simulations as a vehicle, Challenger Center and its international network of 47 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, fosters a long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspires students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center’s network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States and in Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs, and engage over 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops and other programs. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education, visit

Contact: Rob Cork, Director of Communications,
Challenger Center for Space Science Education
300 N. Lee Street, Suite 301,
Alexandria, VA 22314