Press Release
From the Office of State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., District 27

For Immediate Release
Monday, March 22, 2000
Contact: Doris Sanchez
(512) 463-0127

Sen. Lucio announces selection of two Valley students to the Texas Aerospace Scholars Program

AUSTIN, Texas--State Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., D-Brownsville, is pleased to announce that two students from the Science Academy of South Texas in Mercedes were recently accepted to the Texas Aerospace Scholars Program at NASA Johnson Space Center.

Selected to participate in the program from the Valley were Mr. Stefan Allan from Los Fresnos and Ms. Jeannette Smith from Weslaco. Established by Senate Bill 1026 from the 76th legislative session, the Texas Aerospace Scholars Program encourages Texas high school students to pursue studies in math, science, engineering or computer science.

"I'm very glad to have been accepted to this program," offered Mr. Allan. "This gives me the opportunity to work with trained professionals and scientists on topics that interest me. It is pertinent that we have something like the NASA Aerospace Program for students to participate in."

The State of Texas, in partnership with NASA and the Texas educational community, developed the program to offer Texas high school students the opportunity to participate in this educational program beginning February 2000, which features a one-week summer residential experience at the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston.

One of the school counselors working closely with the students, Mrs. Belinda Simons, outlined the benefits of such a program. She said, "I"m excited that the students have this opportunity to attend this summer program at NASA and can continue in this program for a year because it helps utilize all the educational background received at our school. It also helps NASA, as well as the scientists and mathematicians involved, to see what our next generation of students have to offer. Students like Stefan and Jeannette are so well prepared and have a different perspective of problem solving that benefits both groups---the students and the adults."

The selected students will take part in a variety of activities, including interactive web-based work; distance learning; on-line mentoring; briefings and tours; field trips to the Space Center Houston, Moody Gardens, and Burke-Baker Planetarium; and a summer group project.

"I feel that it's a wonderful program," added Ms. Smith. "At the summer workshop there will be about 200 students meeting and working together, based on a common interest--all these students have an aptitude for math, science, engineering or computer science. We'll get to see what the U. S. has done so far with the space program. Just the opportunities to see the contributions to the space program and the technological advances for the future is a great experience."

Eligibility requirements for the participants include that they be United States citizens and Texas residents of at least 16 years of age, and that they are currently juniors in high school. Additionally, the students must show an interest in and an aptitude for science, math, engineering or computer science and have access to the Internet and e-mail. For these young people, participation also means a commitment to a one-year relationship with JSC.

"I cannot express enough how thrilled and proud I am that two of our Valley students will be participating in this Aerospace Scholars Program," said Sen. Lucio. "The Valley's future rests in the hands of students like Stefan and Jeannette, who will probably enter some aspect of the technology field because of these types of experiences, and may then help us develop our high-tech industry. I also commend the teachers, counselors, principal, assistant principals and parents of the students for their efforts in helping them achieve this goal."

The web site address for the program is: http://aerospacescholars.jsc.nasa.gov/scholars/

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