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Traveling Space Museum Lands at UC Riverside

Traveling Space Museum Lands at UC Riverside

Middle and high school students can explore galaxies as well as their own futures at the Copernicus Project’s annual College and Science Exploration day Nov. 8

(October 24, 2008)

Participants in last year's College and Science Exploration day conducted hands-on science experiments with soft drink bottles.

Participants in last year's College and Science Exploration day conducted hands-on science experiments with soft drink bottles.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( – Middle and high school students can explore science as well as their futures in higher education when the Traveling Space Museum lands on the UC Riverside campus Saturday, Nov. 8 from 8 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Hands-on science activities, including climbing aboard a real life flight simulator, will be combined with informational sessions on college admissions and financial aid.

The annual free event, sponsored by UCR Graduate School of Education’s Copernicus Project, is a collaborative effort with UCR’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement (MESA) School Programs and the Boy’s & Girl’s Clubs of San Bernardino and Rialto, and Strategies for Understanding College and Careers in Engineering and Science (SUCCES).

“The entire event, which is expected to draw 500 people, will be multi-lingual with English, Spanish, and American Sign languages communicated,” said Ryan Shiba, community liaison, the Copernicus Project. “Each year, interest and attendance grows in this event that helps kids get on the path to science and teaching careers for the future.”

During lunch, attendees will participate in a technology and college resource exposition with campus departments and science businesses staffing tables with collegiate information and more hands-on science activities. In addition to the flight simulator, the Traveling Space Museum will provide an astronaut toilet.

“Some of the most commonly asked questions from children are about how astronauts are able to do regular everyday things, so part of the exhibit is an astronaut toilet,” Shiba added. “Other questions, such as ‘how much do astronauts make a year’ are easier to explain verbally.”

Student-based organizations, department representatives and researchers from UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering and the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences will host tables along with the UCI National Fuel Cell Research Center, LifeStream (Blood Bank of San Bernardino and Riverside Counties) and City of Riverside Parks and Recreation Center.

The Copernicus program, through UCR’s Graduate School of Education, helps identify and prepare science teachers, a rare resource in the public schools. The program was launched by a five-year, $11.5 million Teachers Quality Enhancement Grant from the U.S. Department of Education to fund initiatives and programs to identify and recruit future science teachers.

The MESA School's Program (MSP) has existed in California and throughout the nation for over 38 years and was established in 1999 at UC Riverside. MESA assists students at middle and senior high schools (and some elementary schools) so they excel in math and science and become competitively eligible for the most rigorous colleges and universities. MESA School's Program partners with teachers, administrators, school district officials and industry representatives to provide this academic enrichment model.

For more than 100 years the Boys & Girls Clubs of America have been providing hope and opportunity to young people nationwide with a mission to enable all young people, especially those in need, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens.

The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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