National Pageant Winners Train Like an Astronaut, Conquer STEM Challenges in Space Center University

HOUSTON, Nov. 18, 2016 – Space Center Houston welcomes national pageant winners Miss Junior High, Miss High School and Miss Collegiate America to Space Center U™, a hands-on engineering-based program, Nov. 28-Dec. 2.

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The pageant winners will experience rigorous challenges in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and will train underwater like an astronaut at the nonprofit education center. They are using their significant positions as youth role models to stimulate awareness of the underrepresentation of girls and women in STEM.

“Space Center U™ gets young people engaged in science and interested in future STEM careers,” said Daniel Newmyer, director of education for the science and space learning center. “Immersive activities spark interest in youngsters, motivating them to become successful leaders.”

Throughout the week, Kennedy Chase, 16, Novalee Lewis, 12, and Amberly Nelson, 19, will collaborate with other students to solve problems and engineer solutions to space-related situations. Students will engineer a robotic rover, build a Mars habitat and launch a rocket in this immersive learning experience. It all culminates with a graduation ceremony and an exclusive brunch with an astronaut.

Nationally, fewer children choose STEM careers and women are the minority in the STEM workforce. Space Center Houston is making an impact by teaching underserved girls and boys in its Youth STEM Academies. Its Girls STEM Academy teaches middle-school girls about robotics, app design and computer programming, while building confidence in construction and experimenting with engineering challenges. Through its hands-on learning experiences, the nonprofit engages students to think about a future STEM career and experience the excitement of discovery.

Girls and boys from every continent except Antarctica train in Space Center U™. The program is offered year-round for students ages 14-18. It simulates astronaut training and real-world NASA experiences. Students have fun with hands-on activities in robotics, cryogenics, rocketry and physics. They discover the science behind astronaut training in challenges such as scuba diving, coding and building a Mars habitat. These activities help students develop 21st century skills, build confidence, think critically, understand the importance of sustainability and gain the tools and initiative to succeed at their goals.

To register or to learn more about Space Center Houston’s educational programs, visit

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The Manned Space Flight Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit science and space learning center with extensive educational programs. Space Center Houston is the cornerstone of its mission to inspire all generations through the wonders of space exploration. The center draws 1 million visitors annually, was called “The Big Draw” by USA Today and generates a $73 million annual economic impact on the greater Houston area. Space Center Houston is Houston’s first and only Smithsonian Affiliate and the Official Visitor Center of NASA Johnson Space Center. More than 100,000 teachers and students from around the world visit the center annually to take part in extraordinary learning opportunities. For more information, go to

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