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Media Advisory

Not for publication

Nov. 2, 2004 -- No. 534

Traveling laboratory, Discovery, debuts
with Asheville ‘Carolina Connects’ stop

Wednesday (Nov. 3), 8:30 a.m.-1:50 p.m.
Asheville High School
419 McDowell Street
Asheville

Media representatives are invited to cover a visit Wednesday (Nov. 3) by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser and the second and newest traveling science laboratory, Discovery. The trip to Asheville High School is part of Moeser’s "Carolina Connects" initiative, launched in the spring to highlight the many ways Carolina serves the people and communities of North Carolina.

Joining Moeser at Asheville High will be Dr. Walter "Skip" Bollenbacher, UNC-Chapel Hill biology professor and director of the traveling science laboratory program. During the visit, they will meet with students and teachers, who will perform an experiment aboard Discovery. Students in Shannon Baggett’s biology class will perform a lab exercise called "The Case of the Crown Jewels." They will assume the role of forensic scientists and use DNA restriction analysis, also known as DNA fingerprinting to analyze a drop of "blood" found at the scene of a robbery. Ultimately, they will determine which of a number of suspects committed the "crime." Discovery also will visit C.D. Owen High School in Black Mountain Thursday (Nov. 4). Students in Anne Blackwell’s Anatomy and Physiology AP Honors class also will perform an experiment on board the bus.

Discovery is the second traveling science laboratory to hit the road in North Carolina. In 2000, UNC-Chapel Hill launched its first science bus, Destiny, which stands for Delivering Edge-cutting Science and Technology in North Carolina for years to come. Both buses are full of state-of-the-art science and technology equipment for wet-lab experiments, Internet exploration and classroom materials. The buses bring the latest science and technology to students who otherwise would not see a high-technology laboratory or what a science career can offer.

The DESTINY Program is booked two years in advance. Its success in addressing the needs for quality science education in North Carolina prompted the need for the second bus.

Most of North Carolina’s secondary schools, especially in rural areas, lack the resources and equipment that are crucial for quality science education, program leaders say. Discovery will extend Destiny’s resources to more North Carolina students and deepen the program’s emphasis on the excitement surrounding space science, particularly in connection to the biological and health sciences.

Since hitting the road, Destiny has visited 95 counties, 104 school systems and 250 schools. The custom-built 40-foot, 26,000 pound bus has reached more than 850 educators, hosted more than 8,500 students for lab experiences on board and provided more than 24,000 students with classroom curriculum materials. Funding for Discovery was provided by a $900,000 federal award from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). Funding for the DESTINY program has been supported by generous gifts from GlaxoSmithKline, IBM, BioRad and New England BioLabs.

For more information on Destiny go to http://destiny.unc.edu. For more information on Chancellor Moeser’s "Carolina Connects" initiative go to http://www.unc.edu/news/archives/may04/carolinaconnects052704.html

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UNC-Chapel Hill contacts: Nancy Davis, (919) 201-5621 (cell, on site); or Karen Moon (919) 962-8595 or Karen_Moon@unc.edu