East Texas students will be able to reach for the stars and some may even visit them someday, thanks to a grant from the AT&T Foundation to the Center for Earth & Space Science Education at Tyler Junior College.
The $25,000 gift supports educational programming and headline shows at the center, which reopened in September following a massive renovation and technology upgrade.
Candice Gast, AT&T director of external affairs for Northeast Texas, was encouraged to seek the gift from AT&T by State Sen. Kevin Eltife.
Recent studies have shown that many students have gravitated away from science and engineering careers and that the success of the country’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics education programs rests with finding new and innovative ways to prepare and inspire today’s students.
One of the recommendations suggested by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology was to create opportunities for inspiration through individual and group experiences outside the classroom.
“For many East Texas schoolchildren, the TJC science center is their first exposure to science and space exploration; and, no doubt, many of them are inspired by that experience,” Eltife said. “The AT&T Foundation has made an investment not only in our students, but in our future scientists and explorers.”
The AT&T Foundation is the presenting underwriter for two of the science center’s headline shows, “Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity,” which will be shown February through April, and “Tales of the Maya Skies,” which is scheduled to run September through December of 2012.
Also, Tyler ISD students in grades 3 through 5 will receive coupons for free admission to the science center.
“Thousands of visitors will experience the science center’s educational programs this year, with the majority of those visitors being elementary and middle school children,” said Dr. Kim Russell, TJC vice president for advancement and external affairs. “It is imperative that we capture the imaginations of students at an early age and encourage them to consider advanced educational opportunities – and possibly even careers – in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.
“This generous gift from the AT&T Foundation enables us to do just that.”
Gast said, “We are happy to support Tyler Junior College’s Center for Earth and Space Science Education. The importance of education – particularly science education – is a main priority for AT&T. With elected leaders such as Senator Eltife working in Austin to pave the way for education, AT&T is happy to do our part to invest in Texas’ future generations both in Tyler and around the State of Texas.”
For more information on the Center for Earth & Space Science Education at TJC, go to www.tjc.edu/cesse.