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GSK awards grant to MPSC

posted Wednesday April 16, 2008

Distributed by UNC News Services, April 15, 2008

GlaxoSmithKline has awarded a $367,172 grant to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to support the creation of the Science in the Summer program in North Carolina. The initiative will target science education through summer camps for second- through eighth-grade students and teacher workshops at libraries in six counties across the state.

“Programs that encourage children’s interest in science are important to GSK,” said Mary Linda Andrews, director of community partnerships for GlaxoSmithKline. “Science in the Summer provides children with a high quality, investigative science curriculum. Through hands-on science experiments, students are encouraged to begin to develop higher-order thinking skills - the very skills that will stay with them throughout their lives.”

The program follows the model of GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer program in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas, which is now entering its 22nd year and has introduced more than 92,000 children to science.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer program in North Carolina will be hosted by nine libraries, each of which will offer a five-day camp, consisting of five half-day sessions for elementary school students and one half-day session for middle school students.

The elementary student sessions will utilize curriculum developed by GlaxoSmithKline for its Science in the Summer program and hands-on activities from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s summer camp curricula.

The middle school sessions will give students laboratory experience on board Morehead Planetarium and Science Center’s Destiny traveling science learning program. The Destiny laboratories are two 40-foot buses that bring the latest science and technology equipment to students across North Carolina each year.

“We are thrilled to partner with GlaxoSmithKline and bring their exciting science education concept to North Carolina,” said Dr. Todd Boyette, director of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. “It will be a fantastic way to engage students in science and support the efforts of educators in our state.”

The camps will begin during the summer 2008 and will be hosted by libraries across central North Carolina. Participating libraries include:

  • May Memorial Library, Burlington, Alamance County;
  • Gunn Memorial Public Library, Yanceyville, Caswell County;
  • Pittsboro Memorial Library (activities will be held at the Pittsboro campus of Central Carolina Community College), Pittsboro, Chatham County;
  • Main Library, North Regional and East Regional branches, Durham;
  • Franklin County Library (activities will be held at the Franklin County Cooperative Extension Agency in Louisburg) and Youngsville Branch Library, Franklin County; and
  • Harnett County Public Library, Lillington, Harnett County.

The summer camps will be held at no charge to participants and each camp will accommodate 20 second- to third-grade students; 20 fourth- to fifth-grade students and 30 sixth- to eighth-grade students. The camps will be led by certified N.C. teachers and high school student assistants. Registration is scheduled to begin in May 2008 and will be managed by each library. Organizers anticipate that the five-year program will gradually expand to include more counties.

Middle school and high school teachers in the same communities also will have the opportunity to attend professional development workshops during the summer and learn how to incorporate Destiny science curriculum into their classrooms. The workshop participants will then be eligible to request a school visit from one of Destiny’s traveling science laboratories during the 2008-2009 academic year.

GlaxoSmithKline’s Science in the Summer program in North Carolina is sponsored by GlaxoSmithKline and administered by UNC’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.

GlaxoSmithKline – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer.

Since opening in 1949, Morehead Planetarium and Science Center has welcomed more than 7 million people to learn more about science through school field trips, multimedia Star Theater shows, classes for adults and children, summer camps, guest speakers, digital films and special events.
The Destiny traveling science learning program is a science education outreach initiative of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center that serves pre-college teachers and students across North Carolina. Destiny develops and delivers a standards-based, hands-on curriculum and teacher professional development with a team of educators and a fleet of vehicles that travel throughout the state.

Created by Carolina in 2000, Destiny became a program of UNC’s Morehead Planetarium and Science Center in 2006.