Giving Urban Youth the Power to Dream
Fifty years ago, Apollo astronauts exploring the moon sent back to Earth the first clear, color photographs of Earth from space. These photos not only captured the world’s imagination, many historians believe that seeing the Earth from the “outside” shifted our perspectives so dramatically that we changed our vision of what is possible.
Project Exploration has been working for 20 years to create this type of dramatic perspective shift in students in Chicago’s underserved neighborhoods. It’s easy for an urban youth today to develop a belief that someone like them can never be a scientist. Project Exploration and the Explore Space Challenge gives kids the experiences and opportunities they need to dream a new dream for their futures.
The Explore Space Challenge
Over Labor Day weekend 2019, Judy launched her self-made rocket to 33,239 ft carrying space-ready satellites built by Project Exploration students from the south side of Chicago. The rocket hit peak speed of 1351 mph, or 1.8 times the speed of sound!
Judy was born on the south-side of Chicago but spent most of her youth growing up in a suburban neighborhood where she had the resources and support to achieve big dreams. Now, she has returned to her neighborhood of origin to support a group of south-side high school students to reach new heights. She currently serves as Board Chair of Project Exploration, an organization committed to Changing the Face of Science, and the cause for which she is launching.
A Chicago-area native currently living in the San Francisco area, Ken is an amateur rocketry legend who has sent rockets above 100,000 feet. He gives passionately of his time for the cause of STEM education. He is the founder of the satellite program used in the Explore Space Challenge. Project Exploration is grateful for his frequent trips to Chicago to make this program happen!
About Project Exploration
Project Exploration has been at the forefront of impacting under-served communities and youth in Chicago by delivering science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs and influencing a citywide conversation that aims to combat STEM deserts through partnership development. At the core of PE’s mission is the belief that STEM education is an imperative social justice issue.