08:08 AM

Telescope Inspires Baltimore Students to Reach for the Stars

The Maritime Aerospace Scholars Program (MASP), a science enrichment program sponsored and funded by the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) in partnership with the Baltimore City Public Schools and based at the Maritime Industries Academy High School (MIA) in Baltimore, recently got an exciting boost with the dedication of a telescope for use by students as part of the science curriculum and in program-related after school activities. The telescope, a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Taylor, is an Meade LX200 with a 12" lens featuring advanced coma-free optics that provide astronomical image quality equivalent to that of many professional observatories and an impressive light gathering capacity. The telescope will be an important tool for those MIA students who are considering college and professional careers in the aerospace field and an exciting adjunct for MASP.

Now in its third year, MASP provides MIA students with a range of career development activities that include internships at local research facilities and research firms, lecture / demonstrations by scientists and technicians involved in aerospace efforts, site visits to local facilities, and funding for student attendance at selected professional conferences. The program also provides professional development opportunities for educators and counselors in activities that include professional round tables and sponsored conference attendance.

The delivery of the telescope to MIA was recently celebrated with a formal dedication ceremony held at the school. Speakers at the ceremony included Congressman Elijah Cummings, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Director Mr. Robert Strain, USRA President and CEO Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino, and Maritime Industries Academy principal, Ms. Joy Savage. The program included telescope observations of the sun organized by the NASA Goddard education office.

'The Maritime Aerospace Scholars Program is an outstanding expression of USRA's fundamental mission to promote aerospace education and workforce development,' said Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino, USRA President and CEO, 'We thank Mr. and Mrs. Taylor for their generous contribution and their support for the aspirations of the bright and enthusiastic young people in this program.'

One of the most historic public school districts in the US, the Baltimore City Public Schools have served the youth of the city of Baltimore for close to 180 years. The Baltimore City Public Schools today comprise dozens of public elementary, middle and high schools in Baltimore City, with the largest school in physical size being Lake Clifton Eastern High School. The City Schools are home to the oldest all girls public high school in the US (Western High School) as well as to the third oldest high school in the US (Baltimore City College).

Established in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences, USRA is a private, nonprofit consortium of 105 universities offering advanced degrees in space- and aeronautics-related disciplines. USRA's mission is to conduct leading-edge research, develop innovative technologies, promote education and policy across the breadth of space science, and operate premier science and technology facilities by involving universities, private industry and government.