East Kentucky Leadership Award for Organization

By: Maisie Insko Email
By: Maisie Insko Email

Your educational experience begins when you walk through the doors of the East Kentucky Science Center, from a 3,000 square foot exhibit.

"We try to keep this exhibit hall filled up for the public to see, usually it is related to science or the local area; things like that." says Director Steve Russo.

To a classroom.

"We do everything from physics to chemistry, animal programs, electricity, and we are developing new programs yearly so this classroom is used for a lot of different things." he says.

But it is the planetarium that is considered to be one of the best teaching tools.

"With this system we are able to do a three hundred and sixty degree video on our dome and it is really unique to have our mechanical projector do the night sky and a projector to do the video part of the planetarium show." says Science Center Technician Quentin Ennis.

"We've got what is probably the most advanced planetarium in the United States." adds Russo.

That's right! One of the best science centers in the country is in our backyard and it is all ran by 4 people, including Russo.

"To have a science center like this in a small community you just don't find it. This is the kind of science center you would find in New York, Los Angeles or Chicago."

While you are at the science center, stop by Russo's office where 50 years of space collections are on display.

"I grew up in the space age, I remember at 5 years old my parents forcing me to watch TV and see Alan Shepard go up."

And if you are still hungry for more, you can always stop by the gift shop to eat some real crickets.

"They are real and we cant keep them on the shelf. We put them out and kids buy them immediately. Sometimes they eat them before they are out of the gift shop. As a matter of fact we are out of the bacon and cheese flavored." jokes Russo.

Crickets and dried ice cream may be the hot items for the 10,000 that walk through these doors annually but to Russo and others at the science center this is all part of the experience you get when you visit.

"Our mission is to get kids interested in science so that hopefully they can go into a career in science; that might be something like an astronaut, a chemist, meteorologist, or working in a college as a science professor."

Your 2012 East Kentucky Leadership Award for Organization goes to The East Kentucky Science Center.

Several individuals and organizations will be honored Thursday night in Prestonsburg, you can attend the ceremony by calling 606-886-1341.

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