Baltimore SEMAA at Morgan State University
The NASA Science Engineering Mathematics and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA, is a national innovative project designed to increase participation and retention of historically underrepresented K-12 youth in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM. The goals of the NASA SEMAA project are to inspire a more diverse population of students to pursue careers in STEM; engage students, teachers and parents by incorporating emerging technologies into the project; and provide a challenging curriculum that meets state math, science and technology standards. SEMAA proactively addresses these goals by delivering a "hands-on, minds-on" curriculum.
In just twelve years, SEMAA has emerged as a nationally renowned leader in the efforts to increase the participation of historically underserved K-12 youth in the areas of STEM. Established as a joint venture between NASA Glenn Research Center and Cuyahoga Community College, the project has grown from a single site to a national organization that is supported by Congress and dedicated to improving the academic success of children nationwide with 15 sites and a National SEMAA Office (NSO) in Cleveland, Ohio. Currently, SEMAA is located at community colleges, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, or HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HISs, Tribal Colleges and Universities, or TCUs, high schools, middle schools, elementary schools, and science centers/museums in urban and rural cities throughout the United States. Historically, the growth of SEMAA has been supported by congressional representatives and NASA. Students meet during school, after school, or on Saturday mornings to engage in hands-on, interactive learning sessions that are specifically designed for each grade level. SEMAA embodies the principles of the "No Child Left Behind" Act.
Baltimore SEMAA program delivers: hands-on/inquiry-based K-12 curriculum that is aligned to the National Math, Science, and Technology standards; Family Café which is an interactive forum for parents and adult family members; Aerospace Education Laboratory (AEL), a state-of-the-art, electronically-enhanced computerized classroom that offers participants the opportunity to experience real world challenges in aviation through its unique science research stations; and the STARLAB Portable Planetarium which exposes students and parents to astronomy, weather patterns, navigation etc.
The Baltimore SEMAA program at Morgan State University is free and open to ALL Maryland students in grades K-12 and their parents. During the academic year, classes meet eight (8) consecutive Saturdays for fall, winter and spring sessions and in summer, there are four (4) one-week sessions when classes meet Monday through Friday. All classes are conducted in the Science Complex from 10:00 am to 1:00 p.m. To accomplish this level of success, we establish partnerships with various communities. The partnerships provide the support and skills to impact the underrepresented students in many positive ways, thus ultimately contributing to the pool of talented scientists and researchers in STEM fields. The SEMAA activities are not intended to replace science and mathematics instruction in schools, but to provide support to schools by offering science and mathematics enrichment projects to encourage student interest and success in science, mathematics, engineering and technology.
Students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields provide the workforce for vital military, government and industry jobs, as well as supplying the great thinkers needed to maintain U.S. leadership in technology and innovation. There is a serious shortage of young people entering STEM fields today. This fact, coupled with the high-tech workforce needs of the 21st century and the lagging test scores indicating a lack of STEM proficiency among the next generation of explorers, poses a bleak picture of an American left behind.
NASA has a unique capacity to revitalize STEM education in America; utilizing its awe-inspiring subject matter, cutting-edge research opportunities, and world-class facilites. NASA is currently investing in a portfolio of educational programs/projects focused on future workforce, attracting and retention of students in STEM disciplines as well as engaging Americans in NASA'S mission.
Baltimore SEMAA harnesses the collective resources of NASA, Morgan State University, science centers, museums, primary and secondary schools to bridge the education gap for historically underserved and underrepresented K-12 youth in STEM. NASA developed a set of criteria in early 2003 to evaluate each of its educational projects. The elements of the criteria are Customer Focus, Content, Pipeline, Diversity, Evaluation, and Partnerships and Sustainability.
Based on these criteria, SEMAA was rated the number one educational project in NASA. To date, SEMAA has over 200+ STEM partners working around the country to inspire, engage and educate the next generation of explorers aligned to NASA Education Outcome. The NASA SEMAA project is managed by the Educational Programs Office at the NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio.