Challenger Learning Center receives $50K from BP

Posted: Wednesday, December 02, 2009

The Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA) has announced it has received a grant from the BP Foundation in the amount $50,000.00 in support of the expansion of educational programs. "We are proud to be associated with Challenger Learning Center of Alaska and the important work they do" wrote Karen Cowart, Director of Government & Public Affairs for BP. "The BP grant is a continuation of two previous grants from BP and the BP Foundation, that they have given to Challenger. And it means expansion of our programs as well as being able to continue what we do. It is only with the support of organizations like BP that allow CLCA to continue its mission to inspire students to look beyond the ordinary, imagine the unattainable and answer those seemingly impossible questions through the pursuit of higher education in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)," said Marnie Olcott, COO at the Center.

At a "Star Party" held November 20th to celebrate the International Year of Astronomy at the CLCA, a new never before seen view of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy was unveiled. According to Kathy East, CLCA curriculum director, the pictures are a composite of images taken with three space telescopes, Hubble, Spitzer, and Chandra, that are revealing details of the galactic center or black hole. "By superimposing the three images, we can see for the first time the black hole at the center of our galaxy that we cannot see with our eyes alone. Until we had these telescopes in space, we could only theorize about what black holes might be like. But now visitors to the CLCA can see for themselves what these telescopes have been able to capture. We may have had cloud cover for our Star Gazing party, but judging by the ooohs and ahhs of the folks that saw these image for the first time, no one was disappointed when they got to see this leap in technology first hand," said East.

The photos are now on permanent display at CLCA and people are welcome to stop by anytime to view them and visit the gift shop as well, which is freshly stocked with new and unique gift items for the Holidays. "Then coming December 29th we're going to have a Wonders of Science day where people can, participate in some science activities for kids during the Holiday break if they're getting bored," added East.

Challenger Learning Center of Alaska (CLCA) is a private, 501(c) (3) nonprofit corporation in operation since April 2000. CLCA was created to meet the educational needs of students throughout Alaska. Using simulated space and earth science missions, distance education and hands-on workshops, the CLCA inspires youth to develop an interest in science, technology, engineering, and math and to consider careers in these fields. For more information about CLCA call 283-2000 stop by the Center next to KCHS on the Spur Highway, or go to

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