TAMPA — The Museum of Science & Industry — MOSI — has been named a recipient of the Bright Lights Community Engagement Award by the nationally acclaimed Noyce Foundation.
The not-for-profit institution is one of just seven museums from among thousands of eligible science centers and museums in the nation to be recognized for its outstanding job of reaching out to and involving youngsters of all ages, socioeconomic backgrounds, academic standings and other perceived challenges.
The award includes an undisclosed six-figure monetary donation to MOSI and is based on the wishes of the late Robert Noyce, the foundation’s namesake, and the organization’s goal of helping adults guide young people into productive lives.
Noyce, a noted technologist, is co-credited with creating the integrated circuit that fueled the personal computer revolution and was a cornerstone of modern electronics. He went on to co-found Intel and later was awarded the National Medal of Science and a Nobel Prize.
In his last interview prior to his death in 1990, Noyce was asked what he would do if he were “emperor” of the United States.
He said, among other things, that he would “make sure we are preparing our next generation to flourish in a high-tech age … and that means education of the lowest and poorest, as well as at the graduate school level.”
Ann Bowers, chairman of the Noyce Foundation Board of Directors, said for decades MOSI has been engaged with the public in the greater Tampa Bay area, especially in its effort to reach the underserved and at-risk children.
Annually the museum provides more than $3 million worth of free passes, scholarships and memberships to those who cannot afford them, said MOSI spokeswoman Shannon Herbon. It also works with educators, families and children to help increase students’ interest in science, technology, engineering, art and math.
“Commitment to community and improving lives permeates everything this institution does,” Bowers said in a statement.
Molly Demeulenaere, MOSI vice president of growth, noted the award will allow the museum to continue its mission of being an educational resource with an emphasis on the underserved population.
“Our impact on students in the Tampa Bay community and beyond through outreach programs, scholarships and trainings allows us to bring fun, interactive STEAM education to those who might not otherwise make it to our science center,” she said.
The other institutions recognized with a Noyce Foundation’s Bright Lights Community Engagement Award include Explora in Albuquerque, N.M.; the Science Museum of Minnesota in Saint Paul; Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, Calif.; Hands On Children’s Museum in Olympia, Wash.; Franklin Institute in Philadelphia; and the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, Calif.
Joyce McKenzie can be reached at [email protected]