Albany State shows off aerospace lab

Photo by Laura Williams

Photo by Laura Williams

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany State University gave area media a glimpse Monday of NASA's educational efforts in Southwest Georgia.

The Aerospace Education Lab, located in the James Pendergrast Library, is part of ASU and NASA's SEMAA (Science, Engineering and Math Aerospace Academy) outreach to the region's schools.

"We want to give the media in our area a chance to experience the only aerospace education laboratory in the University System of Georgia," said Danielle Johnson, data program manager/family cafe coordinator of ASU's NASA SEMAA Program. "Our program provides an exceptional resource for students in our area."

The program serves students K-12 from eight schools in Dougherty County and all of Worth County.

"The lab has 11 work stations," lab coordinator Sammie Sims said.

"It's no secret that the Unites State is lagging behind our rivals in the world when it comes to math and science. This is a hands-on experience and we are trying to get as many kids as possible involved."

The stations in the aerospace lab include global positioning, weather, aircraft design, biotechnology/material science, a resource center, microgravity, virtual reality/flight simulator, remote sensing, robotics and a wind tunnel.

"The media tour is designed to give reporters a comprehensive look and learn about our NASA SEMAA program," Sims said.

More than 70 students from local schools are set to visit the lab today. Johnson said she is hoping to see more than 1,200 schoolchildren over the next month.

"We are trying to stimulate students' minds and get them involved." Sims said. "We want first-graders to come in here and fly airplanes."