October 23, 2006
Press release from ASU
Albany State University's NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) will commemorate its partnership with the Dougherty County School System with a "Launching Ceremony" at Monroe High School's Pre-Engineering Mathematics and Technology Center of Excellence today.
Second Congressional District U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany) will be the guest speaker at the event, which will serve as the official kickoff of incorporating the SEMAA curriculum into the local school system.
"We decided to go with this model (of utilizing the program) with the local school system so that we could increase participation," Dr. Granville Wrensford, Director of the ASU SEMAA, said. "We've had weekend classes at the University since we opened the lab last year, but that has proved to be a hardship for some parents.
"By moving the academy into the local schools for an after-school program, we don't expect any hardships for the students who are interested. They are already there, and the school system is providing transportation after each session."
Area fifth- and sixth-graders have been involved in the SEMAA program on the ASU campus for the past year, taking part in weekend SEMAA lab activities that include aircraft design, radio communications, wind tunnel simulation, air traffic control and (everyone's favorite) flight simulation.
Monroe High School, which hosts the Dougherty school system's magnet pre-engineering program, was the kickoff sight this past summer for the SEMAA summer program. Instructors who have been trained by NASA to teach the SEMAA curriculum will travel to Monroe, Martin Luther King Elementary, Southside Middle and Radium Middle to conduct after-school programs.
"We certainly want to get more students involved in the program, as it provides opportunities for exposure in vital fields of study," Wrensford said. "We'll still have activities at the SEMAA lab on the Albany State campus for eighth-, ninth- and tenth-graders, but the idea now is to take the program to the students so that we alleviate some of the barriers that keep them from getting involved."
NASA's John Hairston, the "father of the SEMAA program," will be on hand for Monday's kickoff event, as will Albany Mayor Willie Adams, Dougherty County Schools Superintendent Dr. Sally Whatley and members of the local Board of Education.