SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - The Arecibo Observatory officially launched its expanded school visiting program today as 25 grammar school students toured the facility that houses the world's largest radio telescope.
Students from the Sociedad de Educacion y Rehabilitacion (SER), an organization servicing physically disabled students in Puerto Rico, visited interactive multimedia exhibits and talked to scientists about their exploration of the universe.
The expanded school visiting program, aided by an $80,000 Verizon International Foundation grant made earlier this year, will now enable more than 20,000 public and private school students - from kindergarten through high school - to explore the observatory and learn more about the universe and solar system. Verizon's grant provides funding for the program's new educational materials, printed in both English and Spanish, guided tours of the exhibit and the salary of an administrative program coordinator.
"The school visiting program at the Arecibo Observatory reflects Verizon International Foundation's commitment to promote worldwide excellence in education," said Fares Salloum, president-International, the Americas for Verizon Communications.
Daniel R. Altschuler, director of the Arecibo Observatory, said, "Through the generosity of Verizon, the school visiting program at the Arecibo Observatory not only brings real-life experience to students, bur also inspires them to pursue careers in math and science."
The observatory is part of the National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center, a national research center operated by Cornell University in New York under contract with the National Science Foundation. The observatory is also the only science museum in Puerto Rico.
Verizon International Foundation supports a variety of educational and economic initiatives that focus on workforce development, literacy and bridging the digital divide. The foundation is committed to improving the quality of life of the global communities and customers served by Verizon and its international affiliates. The foundation works closely with Verizon's affiliates and a variety of advisory groups and other organizations to identify local needs and to develop and nurture programs that address those needs.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 128.5 million access line equivalents and 28.7 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with 256,000 employees and approximately $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to more than 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.