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Northrop Grumman Foundation Announces Participants of Weightless Flights of Discovery “Class of 2011”

The Northrop Grumman Foundation is pleased to announce this year’s Weightless Flights of Discovery “Class of 2011,”a group of 30 educators selected to participate in this year’s teacher development program.

28 math and science teachers from Arizona, Maryland, New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C., along with two college students studying to become teachers, will participate in a unique initiative that places them on micro-gravity flights to test Newton’s Laws of Motion in order to excite their students. The flight will take place in the Washington, D.C. area on Sept. 12, 2011.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program was created in response to a shortage of college graduates in the STEM disciplines within the U.S., making the country ill-equipped to compete in the global workforce. The program primarily targets middle-school math and science teachers due to research showing that a child’s interest in pursuing a career in the areas of science and math begins at the middle school level.

“Our nation’s leaders, including President Obama, through his ‘Educate to Innovate’ initiative, recognize the need to strengthen STEM education in the United States,” said Sandra Evers-Manly,  president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation. “This program, along with others supported by the Northrop Grumman Foundation, is very much aligned with this important national goal.”

The program has proven to be a success-a poll conducted in 2009 of 230 teachers who participated in the first three years of the program revealed that 84.7% saw an increase in the number of students interested in pursuing science- and math-related careers, while 92.3% reported a notable increase in their students’ overall interest in science. More information on the Weightless Flights of Discovery program is available at http://www.northropgrumman.com/goweightless/.

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