In 1986, just months after the tragic mid-flight accident of the Challenger, June Scobee Rodgers and the family members of the astronauts aboard that mission came together, determined never to forget the memory and passion of their family members. They created Challenger Center to continue and honor the important education mission of the 51L crew.

Challenger Center opened its doors to students and immediately immersed them in all areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Students experience a space-themed simulated learning and role-playing environment that brings classroom studies to life and cultivates skills needed for future success, such as problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and teamwork.

The original plan to open just one Challenger Learning Center evolved quickly. Challenger Center has inspired more than 5 million students in 32 years. Today, Challenger Learning Centers can be found in more than 40 communities around the globe. Learn more about Challenger Center at

June also received the “Apollo 50th Education Award,” saluting her pioneering work and dedication to motivate our future Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics workforce.

Only someone as extraordinary as June Scobee Rodgers could transform the greatest tragedy in her life into a priceless gift of inspiration for millions of school kids around the world. We’re so lucky to have people like June in this world.

Scott Parazynski
Astronaut on STS 66, 86, 95, 100, 120
Past Chairman, Challenger Center

Challenger Center (is) something genuinely useful for society.

Neil Armstrong, Astronaut


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An active and prominent leader in education throughout her professional life, June has consulted on the local, state and federal level, and is a nationally recognized advocate for the advancement of science and math education having served on the President’s National Advisory Council on Education.

In 2015, June received the distinguished Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award. The Award recognizes outstanding contributions to creative and innovative use of technology in education by K-12 educators or district-level education personnel

Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award