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GSK Science in the Summer classes kick-off across the nation

Issued: Philadelphia

GSK Science in the SummerTM launches the Science of Space for elementary school students in second through sixth grades. Classes run through August.


Nearly 30,000 elementary school students are getting ready to boldly go where their curiosity leads them as they explore the skies through hands-on experiments and activities as GSK Science in the SummerTM and the Science of Space classes begin across the nation. The free science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) enrichment program, which runs through August, is sponsored by GSK (LSE/NYSE: GSK,) one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, and administered through The Franklin Institute (Philadelphia).

The program, now in its 32nd year, reaches underserved students across America, including children who are experiencing homelessness in Louisiana, Native American students on the Flathead Indian Reservation in Montana, the children of migrant agricultural workers in Maine, and throughout inner-city neighborhoods in Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Washington, D.C. Certified teachers provide instruction at science centers, public libraries, schools, shelters, camps, Boys & Girls Clubs, and other community sites. This year’s curriculum, the Science of Space, will use fun, interactive activities to help students explore the sun and stars, the moon, space travel, rockets, and more.

As demand for professionals with science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) backgrounds has grown, the need for STEM resources has become a critical education issue, particularly among those who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM fields. The average student loses one to three months of learning over summer, and a National Center for Education Statistics report suggests one reason for the "summer slide": students from lower-income homes engage in different activities than their better-off peers. Programs like GSK Science in the Summer™ introduce students to STEM in a fun, engaging way while also helping to keep students engaged educational activities outside of the school year.

“Developing a STEM-educated workforce is a national priority, and a strong pipeline of STEM-educated students is critical to our economic success,” said Marti Skold-Jordan, manager of community partnerships at GSK. “While many STEM programs target high school and college students, our own research tells us that the path toward a STEM career most often begins with a love of science nurtured at a young age. By offering these classes to elementary-aged students –particularly those from underserved populations not widely represented in the scientific community – we’re able to reach some of the students who need and appreciate it the most, while keeping them academically engaged during the summer months.”

GSK Science in the Summer™ was created by retired GSK scientist Dr. Virginia Cunningham in Philadelphia three decades ago as part of GSK’s commitment to supporting STEM education. Each year, it has continued to grow while keeping the curriculum fresh, engaging and relevant for children across the country. Now offered in 27 cities, the program has inspired a love of science in more than 270,000 children since its inception in 1986. For a full list of participating cities, visit

GSK Science in the SummerTM coursework and activities are scientifically rigorous, aligned with Next Generation Science Standards, and age-appropriate to engage children and foster the critical skills that they need. This year’s course was developed by education leads at The Franklin Institute and UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (Chapel Hill, NC).

“The Franklin Institute is proud to partner with GSK to help children across the country develop confidence and ability in STEM subjects like space science through fun, hands-on activities,” said Dr. Karen Elinich, Director of Science Content & Learning Technologies for The Franklin Institute.

About The Franklin Institute

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit

About Morehead Planetarium and Science Center

Morehead Planetarium and Science Center is a unit of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Morehead works to serve North Carolina and beyond by bringing together the unique resources of UNC to engage the public for an improved public understanding of science, technology and health. For more information, visit

About GSK

GSK – one of the world’s leading research-based pharmaceutical and healthcare companies – is committed to improving the quality of human life by enabling people to do more, feel better and live longer. For more company information, go to and follow us on

For more information on GSK’s global STEM education program, visit