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Press Release

MSU Denver’s Project SOAR program concludes with rocket launch and virtual astronaut appearance June 26

Program connects lower-income families with aviation and aerospace experiences

Contact: MSU Denver, Tim Carroll, Office 303-556-2957, Cell 303-870-7705
Shades of Blue, Gerri Gomez Howard, Cell 303-748-3933

Posted: June 25, 2015

WHAT:  Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Department of Aviation and Aerospace Science is hosting its fourth and final year of the Project SOAR program, a collaborative grant-funded effort with the Denver Housing Authority (DHA) and Shades of Blue. The Program offers young students from the South Lincoln Housing Area exposure to aviation and aerospace educational opportunities and career possibilities.

Alongside MSU Denver, Shades of Blue encourages young people to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Approximately 25 middle school students participating in the five-day Project SOAR program learn about aviation fundamentals and rocket building, while gaining exposure to a university campus including MSU Denver’s aviation and aerospace facilities and its renowned World Indoor Airport.

The culminating events will test the students’ rocket building skills as they launch them at East High School. Later, participants will be treated to a special virtual appearance by NASA Astronaut Victor J. Glover via MSU Denver’s Center for Advanced Visualization and Experiential Analysis (CAVEA).

The Astronaut Appearances Office (AAO) receives thousands of requests each year but very few are accommodated due to the focus needed on the International Space Station and other NASA programs. MSU Denver and Shades of Blue are especially honored to host this live video conference.


WHY: STEM-related jobs in Colorado are projected to increase by 28 percent between 2008 and 2018. MSU Denver is dedicated to educating the next generation of Colorado’s advanced-industry workforce, including careers benefiting key economic sectors within the state and beyond.

Additionally, as a partner in the HOPE VI HUD grant, MSU Denver is transforming communities by complementing efforts to revitalize the South Lincoln Housing Area and help break the cycle of poverty. A recent study showed that the top 10 highest-paying majors for bachelor’s degree holders were STEM-related. In addition to providing youth STEM pathway education, the grant also provides families exposure to literacy, integrative health and visual art education.


WHEN/WHERE: Friday, June 26, 2015

Rocket Launch                                                                                  9 - 11 a.m.

East High School (1600 City Park Esplanade, Denver, CO 80206)  

The rocket launch will take place in the parking lot east of Josephine St. and north of 16th Ave.

MSU Denver Astronaut Talkback – Room 420                              1 -2 p.m.

Awards Presentation – Room 400                                                   2:30 - 3 p.m. 

MSU Denver Student Success Building (890 Auraria Parkway, Auraria Campus, Denver, CO 80204)


WHO: Captain Willie Daniels—MSU Denver alumnus, president of Shades of Blue and United Airlines captain

Project SOAR student participants

Astronaut Victor J. Glover, Jr. (Lt. Commander, U.S. Navy) - Astronaut Candidate in Training, member of 21st NASA astronaut class



About Metropolitan State University of Denver

MSU Denver is a leader in educating Coloradans in university programs particularly relevant to the state’s economy and the demands of today’s employers. With the highest number of ethnically diverse students among the state’s four-year colleges, MSU Denver offers 58 majors plus master’s degrees in accounting, teaching and social work. More than 21,000 students are currently enrolled at MSU Denver, and 75 percent of the University’s 80,000 graduates have remained in Colorado as valuable members of the state’s workforce. 

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