Morehead Planetarium and Science Center has been awarded funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation to collaborate and partner over the next two years with Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) and Gates County Community Partnership, a non-profit organization based in Gates County.  The grant will cover two weeks of free middle school level summer science enrichment camps in Gates County over the next two summers.  The project, referred to as “Science RISING!”, will create an informal science education relationship demonstrating equity in access to science resources for northeastern North Carolina.  “Morehead’s objective for this collaboration is to address the STEM gap in resources and opportunities for elementary and middle school students in rural communities,” communicated Crystal Harden, Director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Morehead.  “This initiative will create high-quality science education opportunities tailored to the community’s needs.  The goal is to make science education and STEM careers more relevant and reachable for children in rural northeastern North Carolina.”

The mission of Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is to serve North Carolina and beyond by bringing together the unique resources of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill to engage the public for an improved understanding of science, technology and health.  Morehead has spent the past decade addressing inequities in STEM education.  This particular undertaking specifically leverages Morehead’s relationship with Elizabeth City State University.  Together, they will facilitate one-week, whole-day summer science enrichment camps in Gates County with ECSU leading a design of curricula that focuses on aerospace technology.  Subjects will include hot air balloons, flight simulation, robotics, drones and rocketry.  The campers will also take field trips to ECSU to visit the Aviation Science Program.  “This is another win for the Gates County Community!  We are providing our full support to this effort as it offers opportunities for our youth to learn and broaden their horizons,” mentioned Michael Gatling, Director of Gates County Community Partnership.

The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation makes grants primarily to support original research and education related to science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and economics.  It believes that these fields, and the scholars and practitioners who work in them, are chief drivers of the nation’s health and prosperity.  The Foundation also accepts that a reasoned, systematic understanding of the forces of nature and society, when applied inventively and wisely, can lead to a better world for all.