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Minority-Serving Groups to Manage Two New NASA Programs

Minority-Serving Groups to Manage Two New NASA Programs

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has partnered with three minority-serving organizations to lead academic and scholarship programs designed to boost under-represented minority participation in engineering, math and science fields.

With a $3.5 million grant, the United Negro College Fund Special Programs Corporation will establish the NASA Science and Technology Institute for Minority Institutions at the agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. The institute will provide researchers and students from minority-serving institutions with direct access to NASA facilities, technology and scientists. NASA officials say the institute will provide research-based fellowships, internships, co-ops and grants to professors and students from historically Black colleges and universities, Hispanic-serving institutions, tribal colleges and other minority institutions.

“This joint venture will give minority students and researchers access to NASA and the opportunity to collaborate with researchers in the surrounding community of universities, high-tech research and development companies,” says Dr. S. Pete Worden, director of the Ames center.

In a second initiative, NASA’s Office of Education Minority University Research and Education Program has designated a consortium of three organizations to administer the Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology Project. The three groups are the UNCF Special Programs Corporation, the Hispanic College Fund and the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. The project will receive a maximum of $1.75 million in annual funding over three years.

The consortium will offer one-year competitive scholarships to college freshmen, sophomores and juniors to cover up to 50 percent of tuition and fees, with a maximum award of $10,000 per academic year. It also provides students with a stipend to participate in an internship. The project will help participants develop mentoring relationships and provide them with tutoring to support their academic progress.

Like the UNCF-administered Science and Technology Institute, NASA’s program is targeted to under-represented students interested in the science, technology, engineering and math fields.

— Ronald Roach

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