NASA Puts its Money Where Its Spacesuit Is! 8-Million Dollar Grant to Where?
The old joke goes like this..."Pardon me, sir, how do you get to Carnegie Hall" "Practice, Practice, Practice!"
But what do you do if your destination is outer space? Where do you go, how do you get there? The outer space experts at The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the independent agency of the U.S. federal government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and space research, might say you should go to...Ellensburg?
NASA teams Up With CWU
Central Washington University (CWU) is over the moon after getting word that NASA announced it will deliver $8.5 million to CWU over the next four years to help recruit and inspire the next generation of scientists and science teachers in underrepresented communities.
The grant provides continued support for the Northwest Earth and Space Science Pathway (NESSP) program, which started in 2015 and funds NASA-focused STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) educational programs in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.
New Director Hopes To Build On Momentum
CWU physics professor, Darci Snowden, will take over as the director helping the NESSP program maintain its momentum after a successful first six years.
Professor Snowden says one objective of the grant money is to reach Native American students. “The point of this program is to use NASA science to engage and motivate rural and underrepresented students so that they stay interested in pursuing STEM careers in our region.”
The NESSP program is designed to provide students with a pathway toward STEM education and STEM careers, but it’s more than that. Sustainability is also a consideration so the program is designed to build relationships within communities so that CWU can continue to reach more students in the future.
Teamwork To Make The Space Dream Work
A CWU news release says -The program also connects with other universities, science museums, and educational service districts across the Northwest, parceling out the grant funding to create a variety of formal and informal programs for K-12 students, such as NASA-focused outreach, week-long summer camps, and extended national student challenges. The goal under the current grant proposal is for NESSP to reach thousands of students and educators per year.
Professor Snowden adds, "Being part of this program means more opportunities for K-12 students in the Northwest to engage directly with NASA science and engineering experts,” ....and it will benefit Central students interested in STEM education as they provide additional camps and informal educational opportunities on campus.