Press Releases  |  9.14.2016

Challenger Center Travels to Indiana for Education Program Training

WASHINGTON (September 15, 2016) – Challenger Center, a leading science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education organization will host a week long training workshop for its new Expedition Mars mission at Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana from September 19-23.

“The release of Expedition Mars is an important step for this organization as it demonstrates our commitment to providing up-to-date and exciting STEM education programming to students,” said Robert Piercey, vice president of education at Challenger Center. “This particular training workshop gives us the opportunity to introduce the completed mission to our educators and ensure everyone has the full toolbox of resources and information needed to successfully launch the mission back at their Challenger Learning Centers.”

Representatives from eight Challenger Learning Centers will take part in the training as the organization prepares to release Expedition Mars later this fall. Representatives from host Center Hammond, IN will be joined by teams from Framingham, MA; Kenai, AK; Lanham, MD; Las Cruces, NM; Ramapo NY; Richmond, VA; and St. Louis, MO. The education team from Challenger Center headquarters in Washington DC will lead the multi-day workshop.

“We’re thrilled to be the host site for the workshop and the debut of Expedition Mars. The updated mission and its components will enable our network of centers to provide exciting content and activities for our local educators and their students – students who could possibly be the scientists and engineers that pave the way for actual human voyages to the Red Planet,” said Becky Manis, director at the Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana.

The distribution of the Mars-themed mission is part of a new program, CodeRed: My STEM Mission, made possible through a recent cooperative agreement in collaboration with NASA, a long-time Challenger Center partner. The program includes a rapid release of the Mission to a group of Challenger Learning Centers. A second training workshop will take place with ten additional Centers in the early part of 2017. Challenger Learning Centers have the opportunity to apply to be a part of the program and must fulfill several key requirements throughout the duration of the agreement. Future program elements include a flipped classroom course, community engagement days and mobile apps for parents and students. Funding for these elements of CodeRed: My STEM Mission continues through 2020.

Expedition Mars becomes the third mission released by Challenger Center in the last two years, adding to recently launched Earth Odyssey and Lunar Quest in a suite of experiential space-themed missions. A new comet-based mission will launch in 2017. Challenger Center is currently in its milestone 30th anniversary year. Since its founding in 1986, the organization has impacted more than 4.4 million students through STEM education programs. Today, Challenger Learning Centers can be found in 43 communities across four countries and 27 states. To learn more about the organization, visit

About Challenger Center
As a leader in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education, Challenger Center and its international network of Challenger Learning Centers use space-themed education missions to engage students in dynamic, hands-on learning opportunities. These experiences strengthen knowledge in STEM subjects and inspire students to pursue careers in these important fields. Challenger Center was created to honor the crew of shuttle flight STS-51-L: Dick Scobee, Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, and Michael J. Smith. Learn more about Challenger Center at and connect with us on FacebookTwitter and YouTube.

About Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana
The Challenger Learning Center of Northwest Indiana is a nonprofit, space science education center dedicated to continuing the education mission of the Challenger 51-L Crew and first Teacher in Space, Christa McAuliffe. Part of a network of international facilities, the site provides STEM engagement through simulated mission programs and curriculum resource support for local educators. Since opening its doors in 1999, the facility has seen nearly 300,000 students, some of whom have gone on to pursue careers in the STEM field based on their experiences at the center. For more information, visit

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