Monthly Meetings

Laura Checki of the Buehler Challenger & Science Center to Talk October 15

The Garden State Journalists Association will be meeting for lunch at noon, Saturday, Oct. 15 at Centanni's Ristorante, 11-35 River Road, North Arlington, NJ 07031. The price is $22. The telephone there is 201-246-0100. We are fortunate to have as our speaker Laura Jean Checki, Mission Commander/Accessibility Specialist at the Buehler Challenger & Science Center, Paramus, NJ.

Laura worked in the financial arena her adult life until May 2001 when she received an associate's degree in science from Bergen Community College and was accepted into the School of General Studies at Columbia University. She has been an Earth and space explainer at the American Museum of Natural History, New York City, since 2000 and has also served as the stage manager for the Museum's annual Isaac Asimov debate. She has been a NASA ambassador since 2003.

She received a BS degree in environmental biology, evolution and ecology from Columbia University in 2006. A resident of Lyndhurst, she is employed as a mission commander and accessibility specialist at the Buehler Challenger and Science Center. She is also an adjunct professor of astronomy at Bergen Community College. She enjoys motivating people to participate in and be inspired by science.

Since its founding, the Challenger Center has been recognized for its ongoing work to inspire students with a lifelong love of science, technology, engineering and math.

The crew of the Challenger space shuttle died tragically on the morning of January 28, 1986, when a booster engine failed, causing the shuttle to break apart just 73 seconds after launch. Following that, the crew's families came together to carry on the crew's educational mission. Their efforts resulted in the creation of the Challenger Center for Space Science and Education. The non-profit reaches hundreds of thousands of students and tens of thousands of teachers every year.

Directions: The restaurant is in a strip mall centered by Dollar General.

From the west: Take I-80 East to Exit 47, which is I-280 eastbound. Take Exit 16 toward Harrison. Turn right onto Harrison Avenue (signs for Newark/Route 508W), turn right onto Passaic Avenue. Continue onto River Road and the restaurant will be on the left.

From Bergen County area: take Route 17 South to Route 3 West. Take the exit toward Newark. Merge onto Route 21 South. Take Exit 7 for Main Street toward Belleville. Continue on Main Street. Turn left onto Main Street. Turn right onto Academy Street for less than 500 feet. Turn left on Stephens Street for another 500 feet. Turn left at the first cross street onto Rutgers Street. Keep left to continue on Belleville Turnpike/Rutgers Street. Turn left onto River Road. Restaurant is on the left.

From South Jersey: Take the Garden State Parkway north. Take Exit 150 for Hoover Avenue toward Belleville/Bloomfield. Turn right onto Hoover Avenue, turn right onto Joralemon Street. Turn right onto Washington Avenue and then turn left onto Rutgers Street. Keep left to continue on Belleville Turnpike/Rutgers Street. Turn left onto River Road. Restaurant is on the left.

Report on Last Month’s Meeting

At our Sept. 17 meeting, Stacey Bender, CEO of the Bender Group, Montclair, was a big hit, regaling members with stories of how she has placed clients in favorable lights in various mediums. She related instances in which her firm was instrumental in successfully managing client crises. Members received bags of gifts, reflective of her clients' wares.

In attendance was Professor V. Pavlik, Ph.D, of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, School of Communication and Information, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. He has agreed to speak at one of our future meetings. We're working on the details.

Upcoming Meetings

Saturday, November 19, at noon at Rudy's, Hackensack. Archie Schiano is working on the program.

Saturday, December 17, at noon at a venue to be announced. Gail Gerson is securing the venue and the entertainment for our Holiday Party.