Link Observatory Space Science Institute receives $500,000 donation from Morgan County community leader

By | December 1, 2017

The Link Observatory Space Science Institute received a $500,000 donation from a group of philanthropists represented by William Blaschke to expand its DiscoverSpace informal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education programs. 

“We believe the Institute’s impact on both the public and Central Indiana middle and high school students is phenomenal, and we want to see it grow,” said Mr. Blaschke. “This is a Morgan County organization that is improving education and creating tomorrow’s well-trained employees. We should all be proud of the impact they are having on the lives of future generations, and we fully support their efforts and the results they are achieving.” 

At a time when there is a serious shortage of STEM-educated workers in the United States and Indiana in particular, the Link Observatory Space Science Institute is helping to create those employees for tomorrow. By bringing highly engaging and exciting educational programs that inspire students to pursue careers in a STEM discipline, the Institute’s programs are helping to fill the skills gap and worker shortage in Indiana. 

The Institute’s DiscoverSpace educational programs, launched with a pilot program in Morgan County in August of 2015, provides informal STEM education to middle school and high school students on NASA missions, astronomy, and space exploration. With diminishing school budgets and a focus on standardized testing results, funding for the Institute’s exciting and engaging STEM educational programs is hard to find in many school districts. Because of the impact educators have seen with students using the programs and the demand from teachers to bring these programs into their classrooms, the Institute has a waitlist of over 100,000 students wanting to participate. 

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. Blaschke and his group for their generosity to allow even more students and members of the public to get highly engaging, inspirational STEM education on a subject that captures almost everyone’s imagination,” said Link Observatory Space Science Institute Deputy Director Kurt Williams. “The results we have seen so far will be magnified by this donation, and we will be able to serve more of Indiana’s students that want quality STEM education. This donation will help us bring Indiana back to a leadership role in STEM education.” 

“With this grant, thousands more Indiana students in Morgan County and beyond will be exposed to and engaged in exciting STEM educational programs that inspire them to pursue careers in STEM fields,” Williams continued. “We hear the story often from students, like one 5th grade young lady who regularly attends our programs, that their school does not even offer science courses. She asked if we would write a letter of recommendation for her to attend a NASA summer camp for middle school girls because a letter of recommendation was a requirement and she did not have a science teacher at her school to write a letter. We did, and she was accepted. After returning from the camp, she told us that she wants to be the first human to walk on Mars, and will be pursuing a career in a STEM field. That would never have happened if she were not engaged in our programs and inspired to pursue the opportunities before her. We are transforming lives through technology and exploration, and this grant will help so many more students pursue their dreams.”  

Link Observatory Space Science Institute’s DiscoverSpace educational programs allow students to engage with NASA scientists, engineers, astronauts and other experts in ways that bring space exploration and scientific discovery alive. Students can, and have, made real contributions to the worldwide database of scientific knowledge through the programs offered by the Institute. Digitally delivered, on-demand and requiring minimal teacher prep time, educators are able to bring rocket science and the wonders of the universe into the classrooms without having to be subject matter experts. 

For more information on Link Observatory Space Science Institute, and its DiscoverSpace educational programs, please visit: www.LinkObservatory.org www.DiscoverSpace.education