NASA ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO "BE THE SCIENTIST"

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  1. Bowser Life is Fatal. Valued Senior Member

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    David E. Steitz
    September 21, 2000
    Headquarters, Washington, DC
    (Phone: )

    Allen Kenitzer
    Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
    (Phone: )

    RELEASE: 00-117

    NASA ENCOURAGES STUDENTS TO "BE THE SCIENTIST"
    South Dakota Indian Reservation High School Among First to Join NASA Team

    Through a unique educational initiative, NASA's Goddard Space
    Flight Center is encouraging students at more than 100 high schools
    across the country to become actively involved in gathering,
    post-processing and analyzing raw, real-time satellite data.

    For the past two years, NASA engineers have been introducing
    sophisticated new technology to the Red Cloud secondary school system
    on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. This integrated
    science and technology program is making a positive difference in a
    rather remote region within the continental U.S. NASA historically
    has been an organization chartered with "providing for the maximum
    dissemination of information" about its work to the public. But this
    program, known as "You Be the Scientist," actually enables students
    to do what NASA does.

    "This program allows students to become actively involved with
    emerging technologies," said Michael Comberiate, program director at
    NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. "Participants
    can develop marketable technology skills while they're having fun and
    learning about global science from the latest information."

    Until two years ago, a technology lab consisting of computers
    and satellite downlink equipment were non-existent in Pine Ridge.
    After receiving grant money, the school purchased equipment and NASA
    assisted the school by providing the logistics to set up the lab.
    "This is a technology push for Native American culture," Comberiate
    added. "The students will be working with state-of-the-art products."

    "What a great way to get young people directly involved in Earth
    Sciences," said Steve Dacey, a teacher at the Red Cloud School.
    "Without the funds to start these programs, many of these students
    may only see satellite imagery on TV instead of here in the classroom
    where they can study it in depth. It's real hands-on learning."

    The Red Cloud School was one of the first schools to use a NASA
    technology-booster grant for this new capability. They have gone from
    zero student computers to more than 100 and they have a computer lab
    dedicated to the NASA "You Be the Scientist" program, where all the
    students in secondary school can learn to post-process raw GOES
    satellite weather imagery data, observe weather systems, weather
    patterns, fires and a variety of other Earth phenomena.

    The "You be the Scientist" program is funded in part by Gateway,
    Inc., which is providing a Gateway server to quickly process the
    satellite information, share the data and bring it to the students'
    desktops.

    "Currently we are using this approach to set up routine,
    interactive links between selected schools across the country that
    are ready and able to work closely with NASA," Comberiate said. "With
    their help we can tailor our data sets to fit their needs."

    Today, for example, students from Red Cloud will participate in
    an interactive webcast as a virtual cultural exchange with Northwest
    High School in Germantown, Md.

    You Be the Scientist was initiated by Goddard as an educational
    outreach program to secondary schools and science centers across the
    U.S. The program uses emerging digital satellite technology to
    distribute satellite imagery data from NASA and NOAA spacecraft
    directly into schools. Teachers then may use the satellite data in
    science, environmental, technology, geography and social studies
    curricula.

    The program is funded by NASA's Earth Sciences Enterprise, a
    long-term coordinated research effort to study the Earth as a global
    system and the effects of natural and human-induced changes on the
    global environment. This program in particular seeks to educate the
    next generation of resource users in how the global processes work
    together and how our resource usage affects our environment.

    For more information on the "You Be the Scientist program, check out: http://coolspace.gsfc.nasa.gov/ybts/

    For more on NASA's Earth Science Enterprise, go to: http://www.earth.nasa.gov/

    -end-

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