updated 5/10/2011 9:15:57 AM ET 2011-05-10T13:15:57

LOS ANGELES, May 10, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Northrop Grumman Foundation is accepting teacher applications through May 15, 2011, for the Weightless Flights of Discovery program taking place in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12, 2011. A maximum of 30 teachers will be chosen to participate in this unique initiative that places teachers on micro-gravity flights to test Newton's Laws of Motion and energize students in the formative middle school years.

Weightless Flights
Powell Middle School math and science teachers Carrie Brunner, Courtney Poloney and Kara Kwolek experience weightlessness during the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery in Detroit.




Northrop Grumman is partnering with the Zero Gravity Corporation to offer the Weightless Flights of Discovery program, one of several initiatives the Northrop Grumman Foundation sponsors to promote education and stimulate student interest in STEM fields.

A photo accompanying this release is available at: http://media.globenewswire.com/noc/mediagallery.html?pkgid=6638&max=9&start=0

"Our Foundation's mission is to develop unique, sustainable and national-level programs to inspire interest in STEM subjects, and the Weightless Flights of Discovery initiative is one of many that we undertake to follow through on that commitment," said Sandra Evers-Manly, president of the Northrop Grumman Foundation.

Area middle school math and science teachers in public schools are welcome to apply for the 2011 program at www.northropgrumman.com/goweightless .

The Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery program targets middle school math and science teachers primarily because the United States is experiencing a shortage of college graduates in these disciplines, a development that bodes ill for the nation's industries that depend on talented scientists and mathematicians. Because studies have indicated a child's interest in pursuing a career in the areas of science and math is sparked at the middle school level, the Foundation developed the Weightless Flights of Discovery to engage teachers, key influencers in the lives of students during these crucial years.

"Our nation's leaders, including President Obama, through his 'Educate to Innovate' initiative, recognize the need to strengthen STEM education in the United States. Now in its sixth year, the Weightless Flights of Discovery program is very much aligned with this important national goal," said Evers-Manly.

Demonstrating the program's overall impact, a poll conducted in 2009 of 230 teachers who participated in the first three years of the program revealed that 84.7 percent reported an increase in the number of students interested in pursuing science- and math-related careers and 92.3 percent reporting a notable increase in their students' overall interest in science.

Selected teachers will participate in a full-day workshop several weeks before their flights. Teachers then will work with their students to develop experiments to be conducted in lunar gravity, Martian gravity and weightlessness environments. Following the approximately two-hour flight, each teacher will share his or her experiences with their students back in the classroom using video and photos taken during the flight.

To learn more about the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery, visit www.northropgrumman.com/goweightless .

Become a fan of the Northrop Grumman Foundation Weightless Flights of Discovery on Facebook and follow the program on Twitter.

The Northrop Grumman Foundation supports diverse and sustainable programs for students and teachers. These programs create innovative education experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. For more information, please visit www.northropgrumman.com/foundation .

CONTACT: Margaret Mitchell-Jones
         Northrop Grumman Corporation
         (703) 875-8330
         m.mitchell-jones@ngc.com
         
         Rebecca Rakitin
         M. Silver Associates Inc.
         (954) 765-3636
         Rebecca@msilver-pr.com

© Copyright 2012, GlobeNewswire, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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