Space Foundation Press Releases

Petit Family Foundation to Host ‘Soar to the Stars’ Gala for Girls' STEM Education

Written by: Space Foundation Editorial Team

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (July 23, 2018) This year marks the tenth anniversary of the Petit Family Foundation, and a decade of supporting the education of young people, especially girls and women in the sciences.

This fall, the Petit Family Foundation will support a new initiative. It is partnering with the Space Foundation to present the 'Soar to the Stars' gala, to be held Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Proceeds from the gala will fund STEM education programs in the Hartford area during the 2018-2019 school year, to be delivered by Space Education Specialists from the Space Foundation.

"The Petit Family Foundation and the Space Foundation are proud to come together for a powerful evening to inspire young people to soar to the stars," said William A. Petit, Jr., M.D., Petit Family Foundation President. "The gala will provide support to propel young people in our area to 21st Century careers."

"Through its education programs, the Space Foundation is inspiring the next generation of STEM professionals. For some students, this will be their first exposure to this kind of technology, or these types of activities, and this will be the experience that inspires them to pursue a career in a STEM-related field," said Bryan DeBates, Space Foundation Vice President Education. "We are working to shape a dynamic and exciting future for these students."

The 'Soar to the Stars' gala will feature:

  • Emcee Emily Calandrelli, The Space Gal
  • Astronaut program with former NASA astronauts
  • Musical performance by Backtrack
  • Bucket List Trips Auction

Free Girls STEM Experience on Oct. 27
In conjunction with the 'Soar to the Stars' evening gala, the Petit Family Foundation and the Space Foundation will host a free Girls STEM Experience.

Girls age 12 to 18 years are invited to register now for the Girls STEM Experience, offering four different hands-on activities, such as robotics coding and LIDAR surface mapping, led by Space Foundation accredited and award-winning educators, all of whom are former classroom master teachers.

The Girls STEM Experience will be held from 7:15 a.m. until noon on Saturday, Oct. 27, at the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford. Space is limited to the first 200 girls who register.

See information about registering for the Girls STEM Experience and details about attending the 'Soar to the Stars' gala at

About the Petit Family Foundation
The Petit Family Foundation honors the memories of Jennifer Hawke-Petit, Hayley Elizabeth Petit and Michaela Rose Petit by continuing the kindness, idealism and activism that defined their lives. The Foundation's funds are given to foster the education of young people, especially women in the sciences; to improve the lives of those affected by chronic illnesses; and to support efforts to protect and help those affected by violence. Learn more at

About the Space Foundation
Founded in 1983, the Space Foundation is a 501(c)(3) and the world's premier organization to inspire, educate, connect, and advocate on behalf of the global space community. It is a nonprofit leader in space awareness activities, educational programs, and major industry events, including the annual Space Symposium. Space Foundation headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colo., USA, and has a public Discovery Center, including El Pomar Space Gallery, Northrop Grumman Science Center featuring Science On a Sphere® and the Lockheed Martin Space Education Center. The Space Foundation has a Washington, D.C., office and field representatives in Houston and the Florida Space Coast. It publishes The Space Report: The Authoritative Guide to Global Space Activity, and through its Space CertificationTM and Space Technology Hall of Fame® programs, recognizes space-based innovations that have been adapted to improve life on Earth. Visit both of our websites – and – and follow us on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

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Petit Family Foundation Media Contacts:

Rolande Petit and Kim Petit

[email protected]

Space Foundation Media Contact:

Carol Hively, Director Public Relations & Team Communications

[email protected]