NASA grant to fund space science enrichment classes for local youths

Author: Shannon Chapla


The Department of Physics at the University of Notre Dame has been awarded a $60,000 grant from NASA to fund theSupernova Club,which will offer space science enrichment classes for South Bend youths who participated in the National Youth Sports Program (NYSP) from June 4 to 29 on campus.

A community education supplement to a larger research grant awarded to two Notre Dame astronomers, the money was provided through NASAs Space Telescope Science Institute (the organization that manages science operations for the Hubble Space Telescope).It will support the classes throughout the coming school year for about a dozen youths at the Robinson Community Learning Center.

The Supernova Club will give kids who usually don’t get many chances an opportunity to be involved in space exploration and astronomy on a regular basis,said Philip Sakimoto, outreach and diversity specialist for Notre Dames Department of Physics.Our hope is that for some of them it will be a springboard for pursuing science studies at the college level.

The grant also funded an astronomy component to this years NYSP, and the Supernova Club will target kids who took those classes and who demonstrate high levels of interest and potential.

The NYSP is a five-week sports and enrichment day camp that is free of charge for youths between the ages of 10 and 16 who live at or below poverty in South Bend and Mishawaka.The kids are transported to and from campus to learn the fundamentals of football, soccer, golf, swimming, basketball, volleyball and fitness, in addition to participating in drug and alcohol prevention classes, writing, math and science, careers education and computers.More than 3,500 kids have benefited since the program began.

A community-driven education center sponsored by Notre Dame, the Robinson Center offers programs and activities, including health education and screenings, GED and English-as-a-second-language classes, children’s programming, youth tutoring and after-school programs.

_ Contact: Philip Sakimoto, outreach and diversity specialist, Department of Physics, 574-631-6466,_ " "

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