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6/12/2024 4:23:52 PM
Stellar Dreams program gifting 100 telescopes
Stellar Dreams Program,Astronomy,Telescope,Donation,The Science Haven,Raven Baxter,Ronald Gamble Jr.,Telescope training,Astronomy resources, STEM

Stellar Dreams program gifting 100 telescopes

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Russ Scritchfield Russ Scritchfield

The Stellar Dreams Program, led by The Science Haven, addresses the decline in students pursuing physics, astronomy, and astrophysics by donating 100 telescopes to underrepresented and underprivileged students. This initiative aims to spark lifelong interest in STEM, offering hands-on science opportunities and resources.

An illuminating new program, Stellar Dreams, has stargazers and science educators aglow with inspiration. Run by the nonprofit organization The Science Haven, it aims to spur interest in STEM among underrepresented and underprivileged families by gifting 100 telescopes. Founded by molecular biologist Raven Baxter, The Science Haven promotes science accessibility and inclusivity through events, educational programs, web series, workshops, and public discussions.

Stellar Dreams - 100 Telescopes, 100 Families, 100 Dreams

Stellar Dreams, The Science Haven’s latest initiative, provides 100 beginner-friendly Celestron telescopes to disadvantaged grade 5-12 students and their families across America, starting with a rollout in Buffalo, New York. In addition to the telescopes, recipients can join a junior astronomer training program, learning to use their new tools and participate in citizen science research.

Led by executive director Baxter and NASA astrophysicist Ronald Gamble Jr., Stellar Dreams has garnered significant attention. The duo were recently honored with an Astronaut Rock Star Award by Uniphi Good on National Astronaut Day for their contributions to space exploration and STEM/STEAM education. Baxter emphasizes the program's rapid growth and success, expressing gratitude for the support it has received.

Gamble, the director of programs for Stellar Dreams, resonates deeply with the initiative. As a black astrophysicist, he recognizes the impact of providing telescopes to children from similar backgrounds and has used his artistic talents to create junior astronomy cards and posters for the recipients. The Buffalo Astronomical Association also contributed by offering telescope tutorials and planetarium shows.

Although the initial goal of 100 telescopes has been met, fundraising continues for programming costs, with plans to expand to other cities. Baxter, a hometown hero in Buffalo, reflects on the joy and gratitude expressed by the participating families. The telescopes serve as a special status symbol and luxury for these families, fostering a new generation of astronomers.

Stellar Dreams program aims to close the gap in STEM fields with 100 telescopes

Stellar Dreams program aims to close the gap in STEM fields with 100 telescopes

  • With a notable decline in students pursuing degrees in physics, astronomy, and astrophysics over the past decade, addressing this disparity has become crucial.
  • The Stellar Dreams Program aims to bridge this gap by inspiring 100 students with a lifelong passion for discovery.
  • Each participant in the program is gifted a personal name-brand telescope.
  • We offer students the chance to learn, conduct, and share science. Our program includes opportunities to join citizen science projects, which may involve research trips and data collection activities. We also provide resources to help students explore their interests in astronomy and astrophysics.
  • We collaborate with local scientific organizations to ensure students have access to opportunities and a supportive network for their scientific endeavors.
  • Through a mix of in-person and virtual opportunities such as workshops, talks, demonstrations, and Q&A sessions, we connect students with a broad network of scientists.
  • Participants receive basic training in telescope ownership, operation, and astronomy.

According to the latest US census, Black individuals represent just over 13% of the US population but only 1% of the field of astronomy and astrophysics. These disparities are prevalent across many minority groups. Our program activities aim to address these imbalances.

Stellar Dream Team

Stellar Dream Team

  • Dr. Raven Baxter, Executive Director, The Science Haven
  • Dr. Ronald Gamble, Jr. Director of Programs, The Science Haven
What is The Science Haven

What is The Science Haven?

The Science Haven is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to democratizing science, fostering curiosity, and bridging the gap between complex scientific concepts and the public— making science accessible, engaging, and meaningful for all.

What is the "Stellar Dreams" initiative?

The "Stellar Dreams" initiative aims to close the equity gap in sciencem particularly astronomy, by giving 100 telescopes, astronomy education, and citizen science opportunities to students in grades 5-12, who come from underrepresented backgrounds in science and astronomy. By doing this, we hope to create opportunities for to explore the cosmos and ignite their passion for astronomy and scientific inquiry as a whole.

Who can apply for the Stellar Dreams program?

All students in grades 5-12 in the metropolitan areas of Buffalo, New York; Los Angeles, California; and Buffalo, New York are invited to apply to participate in the Stellar Dreams program.

Our programming aims to eliminate the staggering equity disparity between the Black population percentage (13%) and their presence in the field (1%).

Applicants should wholeheartedly believe in the mission of our program and be able to promote the cause of our mission.

The names of some of these reports and surveys where you can find relevant recommendations below:

1) The Astro2020 Decadal Survey

2) NASA’s Strategic Plan for  Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Accessibility

3) NASA’s Strategy for STEM Engagement, the NASA Science Mission Directorate Bridge Program

4) White House Office of Science & Technology Policy’s Interagency Roadmap to Support Space-Related STEM Education and Workforce

There is an immediate need to devote talent, time, and resources into developing the next generation of the STEM workforce in space-related fields.

The Stellar Dreams initiative is all about leveling the playing field in science, which is the core of what equity is. Just like the human body needs many different nutrients to be healthy, astronomy as a field, is deficient in young minds from underrepresented communities. Nurturing young minds from the communities that astronomy is deficient in helps our goals, and our nation's.

How will my monetary donation be used?

Donations are used to purchase telescopes, as well as to support educational programs designed to foster scientific curiosity and knowledge, in relation to the use of the telescope.

Can I donate used telescopes to the "Stellar Dreams" initiative?

While our priority is to provide new telescopes, we are open to considering lightly used ones. However, they must be beginner-friendly and in good working condition. Please contact us directly if you have a telescope you'd like to donate.

Can I donate used telescopes to the Stellar Dreams initiative


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