Professor Joins in Hands-On Universe Educational Program
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Florida Tech’s 32-inch research telescope, to be installed in late summer 2007, has been named a partner facility for the Global Hands-On
Universe (HOU) project. Just two other universities are program partners. They are the University of California at Berkeley and the University of
Hakeem Oluseyi, an astrophysicist and professor in the Florida Tech Department of Physics and Space Sciences, has been instrumental in introducing
astronomy education and research into Kenyan schools through HOU. This international award-winning educational program is funded by the National Science
Foundation and based at the Lawrence Hall of Science in Berkeley, Calif. Oluseyi serves as HOU’s Africa regional coordinator.
The HOU teaches astronomy, math and science to primary- and secondary-level school students by bringing them professional-grade telescopic images of the
universe. On May 10 and 11 HOU held an Internet teleconference workshop for nearly a dozen teachers at Kenya High School, a national residency school for
girls. This was the first HOU workshop to be held on the African continent.
The project was initiated by Carl Pennypacker at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, who runs HOU; Susan Murabana, who has volunteered for several years
on improving science education in Africa; and Oluseyi. Pennypacker contacted Oluseyi with the idea of introducing HOU into Africa. Oluseyi had worked for
several years with Murabana in Africa. The three met at an observatory in France in August 2006 to plan the introduction of HOU into Africa.
Oluseyi has been involved for several years in international nonprofit work to improve science education in developing countries. According to Murabana, “I
became interested in HOU when Hakeem Oluseyi described HOU to me as an opportunity to introduce cutting edge research education into Kenyan schools. The
fact that it was Hakeem who recommended it gave me confidence that it was worthwhile.”
“Completion of the HOU teachers’ workshop is a crucial first step to bringing Kenya High and other African schools in the future into the global network of
research-based science educational programs,” said Oluseyi.