The Great Lakes Science Center celebrated its 25th anniversary on August 20, with a benefit to celebrate a generation of STEM impact. The event took place indoors on all three floors of the Science Center where 450 guests gathered to enjoy interactive exhibits and recognize the 2022 Ion Award honorees. President and CEO Kirsten M. Ellenbogen, PhD, presented the awards.
The Ion Award honors community leaders who have transformed big dreams into reality. The Ion is symbolic of their bond to the Science Center and their work’s indelible mark in the community. Four individuals were honored for their crucial role in the Science Center’s founding years: Dr. Jeanette Grasselli Brown, Margot J. Copeland, Richard W. Pogue, Esq., and William R. Seelbach.
NASA partner Dr. James Kenyon provided an update on Artemis, the human spaceflight program to explore the moon, aiming for its first touchdown on the lunar south pole by 2024. If successful, the Artemis program will perform the first crewed lunar landing mission since Apollo 17 in December 1972. Kenyon discussed the team’s intent to send the first woman and first person of color into space to set foot on the moon.
The event raised $350,000 to further the mission of the Science Center of bringing STEM
to life. The Center was voted third in the nation for Best Science Museum in USA Today’s 2022 Reader’s Choice poll.
The NASA Glenn Visitor Center was open for attendees to experience the exciting launch of SPACEWALK, a virtual experience. Created by Toronto-based company Omniverse Media, the technology places the participant in the role of an astronaut on a critical mission outside the International Space Station in a stunning and authentic virtual reality simulation where users float in zero gravity above the Earth. For accuracy and authenticity, the spacewalk missions are designed and guided by the real voices of NASA astronaut Terry Virts, and Matthew Gast, former Houston mission controller and director of the NASA astronaut
Other activities included a Virtual Mosaic photo booth and hands-on STEM demonstrations including a station where volunteers could hold fire by covering their hand with a mixture of soap, water and methane, then lit by a flame by a Science Center staffer.
For more information about the Great Lakes Science Center, please visit greatscience.com.
STORY AND PHOTOGRAPHS BY ANDREA C. TURNER