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Nov. 1, 2000

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, CA

Phone: 650/604-3937, 650/604-9000

mmewhinney@mail.arc.nasa.gov


RELEASE: 00-73AR

NASA FORMS PARTNERSHIP TO BRING MINORITY UNIVERSITIES TO SILICON VALLEY

NASA Ames Research Center Director Dr. Henry McDonald and Dr. Henry Ponder, CEO and President of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO), today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish a partnership to explore bringing Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) faculty, researchers and students to Silicon Valley as part of the planned NASA Research Park.

"Our goal is to develop a world-class, shared-use R&D campus by partnering with industry, academia and nonprofits in the NASA Research Park," McDonald said. "I am delighted to form this partnership with NAFEO and bring the diversity, resources and talents of many minority universities to Silicon Valley," he added.

NAFEO is the national umbrella and public policy advocacy organization for 118 of the nation’s historically and predominantly Black colleges and universities -- public and private, large and small, urban and rural, liberal arts, agricultural, research, scientific and technological institutions. "Research has been missing from the programs of HBCUs and MSIs to a major extent," said NAFEO CEO Ponder. "This partnership with NASA Ames Research Center will go a long way in positioning NAFEO to make available major research opportunities for HBCUs and other MSIs. NAFEO provides services to HBCUs and this research partnership will be a major step to ensure the research capabilities of HBCUs and MSIs into the 21st Century," he said.

NASA’s Associate Administrator for Equal Opportunity Programs George Reese echoed the excitement for the partnership. "The NASA Office of Equal Opportunity Programs is proud to support the partnership between Ames Research Center and NAFEO. This partnership will provide the Agency with an opportunity to substantially leverage its investment in minority university education and research projects and to further expand the training of students who are underrepresented in the nation’s science, engineering and technology workforce," Reese said.

Ames and NAFEO will work together to plan future joint research and development in information technology and astrobiology, along with education partnerships, including fellowships, internships and faculty development programs at Ames Research Center’s NASA Research Park, according to the terms of the agreement.

"Developing a presence in Silicon Valley is important to our mission of ‘Keeping the Doors of Opportunity Open,’" Ponder said. "This research partnership with Ames at the NASA Research Park is an outstanding opportunity to bring faculty and students from our 118 member minority institutions to where the action is for the New Economy," he said.

"We have planning agreements with the University of California at Santa Cruz, Carnegie Mellon University, San Jose State University and Foothill-DeAnza Community College for R&D collaborations and educational programs at the NASA Research Park," said Ames’ Chief of Development and Communication Michael Marlaire. "A number of the agreements include emphasis on female and minority workforce development. Bringing minority students and faculty from minority-serving institutions around the nation through the NAFEO partnership will immediately expand the NASA Research Park into a national educational resource, while connecting those universities to Silicon Valley," he said.

NAFEO was founded in 1969 to champion the interests of HBCUs and MSIs through the executive, legislative, regulatory and judicial branches of federal and state government, and to articulate the need for a system of higher education where race, ethnicity, socio-economic status and previous educational attainment levels are not determinants of either the quantity or quality of higher education.

NASA Ames Research Center recently announced the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process under the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations to develop the land at Moffett Field under NASA ownership. The proposed developments include the area called the NASA Research Park in which the academic, industry and nonprofit partners hope to conduct their research and education programs with NASA Ames. NASA Ames is partnering with organizations to conduct research in astrobiology, nanotechnology, information technology and other aerospace-related research areas.

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