UF Professor Teams Up with Santa Fe College to Bring the Universe to East Gainesville Youth

MAS (Music and Art for Science) Professor of Astronomy Stephen Eikenberry’s National Science Foundation (NSF) outreach initiative will bring space science curriculum to the Math and Science Summer Camp for middle school students sponsored by Santa Fe College’s East Gainesville Initiative.

During the week of July 12-17, Eikenberry will work with middle school campers on hands-on activities based on his research, including black holes and the massive stars that form them. In addition, students from the NSF-funded Center on Small Satellites ASTREC, of which Eikenberry is a member, will build small satellite models with the campers. The models are capable of blasting off on the back of a makeshift rocket. ASTREC is the leading initiative on small satellites under UF Aerospace Engineering Professor Norman Fitzcoy.

The Math and Science Summer Camp has been serving east Gainesville youth since 2002. Santa Fe was charged in January 2001 with partnering with Alachua County’s underserved east Gainesville community to provide educational empowerment and training opportunities. The college has leveraged its relationships with community and faith-based groups to develop connections, mentors, and other resources to support adults and children in impoverished areas.

Camp activities based on math, science and astronomy fill the mornings during camp. The afternoon sessions consist of life skills training, such as CPR, cooking, etiquette, self defense, money management, public speaking and conflict resolution. The camp ends Saturday with a community service project and a visit to the Kika Silva Pla Planetarium at Santa Fe’s Northwest campus. An awards ceremony is also planned to highlight the valuable contributions students can make in their communities via the field of math and sciences.

Eikenberry said the MAS outreach initiative fit perfectly with the camp’s mission and he has tied together the camp with the upcoming Stars Shine in East Gainesville event to be held Oct. 8. Campers will exhibit their projects for the community at large at this celebration of art, music and science that was last held four years ago and attracted more than 1,000 people.

For more information, please contact Karen Cole-Smith, executive director, East Gainesville Initiative, at 352-395-5767.

CONTACT:

  • UF Professor Stephen Eikenberry at eiken@astro.ufl.edu or his cell at 352-672-4249
  • Karen Cole-Smith, Santa Fe College’s East Gainesville Initiative, karen.cole-smith@sfcollege.edu or call 352-395-5767, 352-381-3840 or 352-381-7053
  • Julie Garrett, media relations coordinator for Santa Fe, for help facilitating your story, 352-395-5430 or 352-870-2924 (cell)