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Planetary Science Institute Opens New Tucson Conference Center

Feb. 27, 2013

Tucson, Ariz. -- The Planetary Science Institute will dedicate a third Tucson facility March 4 to accommodate the continued growth of the organization.

The new 3,700 square-foot PSI Conference Center includes offices for scientists and education/public outreach staff as well as a large conference room for meetings and workshops.

“We were bursting at the seams and needed more room,” said PSI CEO and Director Mark Sykes. “We needed office space for more scientists joining PSI as well as to accommodate the growing number of teachers wanting to take part in our educational workshops.”

PSI's teacher professional development workshops – Project WISER (Workshops in Science Education and Resources: Planetary Perspectives) – have been very popular with teachers from local school districts, said PSI Education Support Specialist Thea Cañizo. 

“From their evaluations of our program we know that participants recognize the value of their interactions with PSI scientists and the in-depth information about Earth and space science that they receive,” she said. “There are more teachers who want to participate in our workshops than we have space to accommodate. We have waiting lists of people who want to attend, but aren't able to. With the new conference room we'll be able to greatly expand the program. More teachers translates to more students interested in science and STEM careers.” 

PSI growth continues to be strong, with seven new scientists joining in 2012 and revenue increasing 14 percent, Sykes said. 

During the ceremony, plans for additional growth will be unveiled that will include new space for an Atsa Suborbital Observatory training facility for future operator astronauts. PSI’s Atsa project will see observations taken by a human-tended instrument carried aboard a commercial XCOR Lynx spacecraft.

Contact fischer [at] psi.edu for information on the March 4 ribbon cutting ceremony. 

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