Challenger Center Announces Formation of Advisory Council

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Elite Group Includes President George H.W. Bush, Norman Augustine, Sarah Brightman and Senator John and Annie Glenn

Challenger Center, the Washington D.C.-based nonprofit science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education organization, is pleased to announce the formation of its Advisory Council. These visionary leaders and STEM education advocates believe in the Challenger Center mission, lending their diverse talents and support to help expand the organization’s reach and deepen its impact. The Council includes President George H.W. Bush, Mr. Norman Augustine, Ms. Sarah Brightman and Senator John and Mrs. Annie Glenn.

"These extremely distinguished individuals have broken down the walls between nations, led us into a new space age, revolutionized modern business strategy and encouraged us to expand our minds to change the way we see ourselves and the world,” said Dr. Lance Bush, president and CEO of Challenger Center. “Each member of our Advisory Council has expressed a commitment to our mission and is dedicated to educating our next generation. We are honored and privileged to have their guidance and support.”

Challenger Center was founded in 1986 as a living legacy to the Challenger Shuttle crew. At more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers around the globe, students have the opportunity to share the thrill of discovery on missions through the Solar System. Using space simulation and role-playing strategies, classroom studies are brought to life and students are engaged in all areas of STEM.

Today’s students are future leaders and innovators. Recognizing the impact that a talented workforce plays in the country’s economic prosperity, Challenger Center is embarking on a renewed effort to reach even more students and help equip them for future success. These efforts include:

  • Revolutionary software and missions that will further improve our education offerings.
  • A partnership with NASA for students to operate their own satellite from a Challenger Learning Center Mission Control.
  • Six new communities opening Challenger Learning Centers within the next two years.
  • The creation of a National STEM Innovation Center to provide effective tools for teachers.

Honorary Chair, President George H.W. Bush was Vice President of the U.S. at the time of the Challenger shuttle accident and was the first person to express his grief and great sorrow to the families. Speaking for himself, the President and the grieving nation, he personally extended his hand to the families with a simple gesture, giving June Scobee a note with his home phone number and a message “call if you need us.” He was the first to support the group in their efforts to create Challenger Center. In the years following the tragedy, President and Mrs. Bush continued to provide leadership and guidance.

“The mission of Challenger Center is to spark in our young people an interest – and a joy – in science. A spark that can change their lives – and help make American enterprise the envy of the world.” – President George H.W. Bush.

Mr. Norman R. Augustine is the retired chairman and chief executive officer of the Lockheed Martin Corporation and a former under secretary of the Army. He is often compared to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and former Intel CEO Craig Barrett for his national leadership in technology. Augustine was among several individuals who testified to Congress regarding the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) report that was released in 2005 entitled, Rising Above the Gathering Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future. Augustine chaired the NAS panel that conducted the study. The report recommends ways to strengthen research and education in science and technology.

“Challenger Center’s impact has never been more important than it is today. If people are going to be successful in the 21st Century, it is imperative that they have an understanding of STEM subjects. Serving on this advisory council is one of the more rewarding opportunities I have had in my career.” – Mr. Norman R. Augustine

Sarah Brightman is an international global recording artist, and the world's biggest selling Soprano. She remains among the world’s most prominent performers. Brightman accepted the UNESCO nomination to be an “Artist For Peace” Ambassador and her mission promotes education and empowers the role of girls and women in science and technology. Brightman recently partnered with Virgin Unite (Virgin Galactic's not for profit group), providing STEM Scholarship programs to help young women in the U.S. to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics education. In 2012, Sarah announced her intention to launch on a future orbital spaceflight mission to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a 3-person crew on board a Soyuz rocket. Brightman's new album 'Dreamchaser' was her sixth #1 album on the Billboard classical charts and she is currently on her Dreamchaser World Tour.

"Through my partnership with Challenger Center, I hope to inspire in children the same wonder and excitement for space exploration that I feel myself. As I prepare for my own space journey, I am proud to work with them to impart the sense of magic that has had me dreaming and looking up at the stars since I was a child." – Ms. Sarah Brightman

Senator John Glenn is a retired U.S. Marine Corps pilot, astronaut, and U.S. senator. He was selected by NASA to be one of the first seven astronauts in the U.S. space program later becoming the first American to orbit the earth. Glenn was elected to represent Ohio, and served in the U.S. Senate from 1974 to 1999. At the age of 77 he flew on Discovery (STS-95), becoming the oldest person to fly in space, and the only one to fly in both the Mercury and Space Shuttle programs. Senator Glenn is the last surviving member of the Mercury Seven crew. Mrs. Annie Glenn has always been active in community service with a lifelong interest in programs for children, the elderly, and the handicapped. She was honored with the first annual Annie Glenn Award for achieving distinction despite a communication disorder. Mrs. Glenn has a long-standing interest in American folk arts and collects historical household items from the small towns of Ohio.

“I’m privileged to be a part of a legacy of space exploration, a legacy that includes the heroic Challenger crew. By honoring the crew’s educational mission, Challenger Center inspires young minds and helps to advance their education. Annie and I are delighted to be a part of this group.” – Senator John Glenn

About Challenger Center for Space Science Education
Using space exploration as a theme and simulation as a vehicle, Challenger Center for Space Science Education (Challenger Center) and its international network of more than 40 Challenger Learning Centers create positive educational experiences that raise students’ expectations of success, foster long-term interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and inspire students to pursue studies and careers in these areas. Challenger Center's network of Challenger Learning Centers across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and South Korea reach more than 400,000 students each year through simulated space missions and educational programs and engage more than 40,000 educators through missions, teacher workshops, and other programs. Founded in 1986, Challenger Center for Space Science Education was created to honor the seven astronauts of shuttle flight STS-51-L: Commander Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Michael J. Smith. To learn more about Challenger Center for Space Science Education visit visit

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