Press Release

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden Kicks Off 2012 Summer of Innovation At Columbia Middle School

By SpaceRef Editor
June 14, 2012
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NASA Administrator Charles Bolden will return to his hometown of Columbia, S.C., June 18 to participate in a NASA Summer of Innovation (SOI) celebration at W. A. Perry Middle School and the nearby Challenger Center. Bolden attended Perry as a youth.

The SOI program begins at 9 a.m. at the school with a keynote speech by Cheryl McNair, the wife of fallen space shuttle Challenger astronaut, Ronald McNair.  Administrator Bolden will address the students at noon and visit the Challenger Center at approximately 12:45 p.m.

Members of the media interested in attending the SOI events should contact Edith Caudle, Richland One School District public information manager at (803) 231-7510 by 4 p.m. Friday, June 15.

This is the third year for the SOI project that provides hands-on learning opportunities for underrepresented middle school students and professional development workshops for educators through NASA-unique science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) educational activities during the summer school break.

The two Monday events feature hands-on STEM activities for over 400 middle school students and 40 educators and will include NASA Digital Learning Network programs, the Greenwood Genetic Center Gene Machine Mobile Science Laboratory, a portable planetarium and other educational programs. STEM activities will also be held at the Richland One District Challenger Center in Columbia. Bolden, a Columbia native, graduated from C. A. Johnson High School there in 1964 and received an appointment to the U.S. Naval Academy. His 34-year career with the Marine Corps included 14 years as a member of NASA’s Astronaut Office. He flew four times aboard the space shuttle between 1986 and 1994, commanding two of the missions.

NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., manages the SOI program in South Carolina. NASA’s SOI is a key component of the agency’s broader education program to increase student interest in STEM courses, particularly among those in underserved sectors of the academic community.

For more information about the SOI project, visit:  

For more information about NASA’s broader education program, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.