Former Astronaut and U.S. Air Force Col. (ret.) Guion S. Bluford, Jr. and Congressman Chaka Fattah to Touch Down at Lincoln University for NASA Awareness Day, Thursday, September 20, 2001

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LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA - Former astronaut and U.S. Air Force Col. (ret.) Guion S. Bluford, Jr., and U.S. Congressman Chaka Fattah of Philadelphia are scheduled to visit Lincoln University to help mark NASA Awareness Day on Thursday, September 20, 2001 at 9:30 a.m., in Dickey Hall Auditorium on the University's main campus in southern Chester County.

Other scheduled guests include George E. Reese, Esq., NASA associate administrator for Equal Opportunity Programs as well as a 1965 graduate of Lincoln University, and Cheyney University President Clinton Pettus.

NASA Awareness Days are held throughout the year and at various minority serving institutions around the nation to highlight NASA's research and educational opportunities in mathematics, science, engineering and technology. This is the first such event held this year. The next one is scheduled to be held in Mississippi.

"We are pleased to welcome these distinguished visitors to Lincoln University. Lincoln has been in the forefront of preparing African-American leaders who can shape the course of engineering and the sciences in the new millennium," President Nelson said. "The University is also gratified that NASA continues to recognize that legacy by providing our students with additional opportunities to expand their knowledge under the guidance of NASA's unmatched technological expertise. We relish this opportunity to reinforce our longstanding relationship with an institution as accustomed to breaking new ground as we are."

Col. Bluford was a mission payload specialist on four space shuttle flights. He holds a doctorate in aerospace engineering with a minor in laser physics from the Air Force Institute of Technology and a master's degree in business administration from the University of Houston. A Philadelphia native, Col. Bluford graduated from Overbrook Senior High School in 1960 before receiving a bachelor of science degree in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University in 1964. Congressman Fattah represents Pennsylvania's 2nd Congressional District. In 1986, he founded the annual Fattah Conference on Higher Education, which provides prospective students with information on graduate school opportunities.

NASA will also bring its Mobile Aeronautics Education Laboratory (MAEL) to Lincoln for its only appearance in this area. Housed in a 53-foot trailer, the mobile laboratory features 10 workstations that allow students a hands-on encounter with different high-tech elements of space flight. Students may use satellite data to monitor the weather, use global positioning radio to navigate their position and experience a virtual space flight. High school and intermediate schools may schedule MAEL tours from Sept. 17 through Sept. 19 by contacting Shelley Johnson, coordinator of the LASER program at Lincoln, at 610-932-8300, ext. 3470.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Lincoln University School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the University's LASER program organized the visit. LASER, the Lincoln Advanced Science and Engineering Reinforcement program, is one of the most successful pre-engineering and science-training programs in the nation and is a national model of success in recruiting and mentoring students for science careers.

First established in 1980 by NASA, LASER is now also supported by the Office of Naval Research. The program aims to increase the number of minority students in aerospace and other engineering fields. In addition to undertaking a rigorous curriculum, LASER students also have the opportunity to participate in summer internships at a NASA site.

Founded in 1854, Lincoln University is a premier, Historically Black University that combines the best elements of a liberal arts and sciences-based undergraduate core curriculum and selected graduate programs to meet the needs of students living in a highly technological and global society.

Lincoln University is ranked first in Pennsylvania and second in the nation in graduating African Americans with baccalaureate degrees in the physical sciences. Lincoln is also the only university in the state and one of but 20 universities nationwide where 40 percent or more of its physics graduates are women.

Lincoln University, the nation’s first degree-granting Historically Black College and University (HBCU), educates and empowers students to lead their communities and change the world. Lincoln offers a rigorous liberal arts education to a diverse student body of approximately 2,200 men and women in more than 35 undergraduate and graduate programs.