The United States Patent and Trademark Office Society in cooperation with Project XL is proud to announce this year's recipient of the Donald J. Quigg Excellence in Education Award. This award is given each year to one person nationally whose work in the field of education has exemplified innovation and critical and creative thinking skills for the youth of America.
This year's award will be presented to Rick Piercy, founder and chief operations officer of the Science and Technology Center in Apple Valley, California. Presentations of the award will take place on October 31, 1997 at the 11th National Creative and Inventive Thinking Skills Conference at the Overland Park Marriott in Kansas City.
Nominations were taken from those in the field of education, business, government, and those in professional societies whose work best exemplifies the goals of the Donald J. Quigg Award. The award is presented to an individual who fosters inventive thinking, critical thinking and problem solving skills among America's youth. The award in named in honor of the man who served as commissioner of patents and trademarks from 1985 to 1989. Commissioner Quigg's leadership led to the creation of the Project XL program.
The focus of the Science and Technology Center is to give students an opportunity to engage in hands-on science. The Science and Technology Center served 17,000 students last year alone. Mr. Piercy notes that the expansion of 6,000 square feet, made possible with a federal grant of $850,000 will benefit students by allowing more hands-on science. These numbers are increasing as a students all across the country will be able to access the center via the Internet, and to operate the $12 million radio telescope at Goldstone, in the Mojave Desert, whose control was given to the center by NASA in October 1996. This allows students to do actual scientific research, as well as provide NASA/JPL scientists with important data.
The Science and Technology Center also houses a charter school with 360 homeschool students. The many partnerships that join the non-profit foundation allow the center to offer hands-on science to children, encouraging them to expand their horizons, allowing them "to go where man has gone before."