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March 6, 2002

Michael Mewhinney

NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.

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

mmewhinney@mail.arc.nasa.gov


Carol Muller

National Center for Women in STEM

Phone: 408/924-4070

info@ncwstem.org


RELEASE: 02-26AR

NASA PARTNERSHIP TO BENEFIT WOMEN IN HIGH TECHNOLOGY SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Striving to increase the participation of women in science and technology, NASA officials today announced the formation of a new partnership with the National Center for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

NASA Ames Research Center Director Dr. Henry McDonald and Lisa Duncan, president of the board of directors of the National Center for Women in STEM, signed a Memorandum of Understanding to establish the partnership. Under the terms of the two-year agreement, the two organizations will work together to provide resources and programs to expand the engagement of women in STEM education, research and development.

"This is a wonderful example of a strategic partnership that fits our goal of creating the NASA Research Park, a world-class, shared-use R&D campus bringing industry, academia and nonprofits together for the benefit of NASA and the community," McDonald said.

"I am delighted to form this partnership with the National Center for Women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and look forward to the enhanced opportunities this will create for women in the workplace," he added.

"Our relationship with NASA Ames is an important strategic alliance and an exciting step toward achieving our goals for women in STEM," Duncan said. "NASA exemplifies the excitement and challenge that careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics can provide. And the opportunity to be located in the proposed NASA Research Park is an added exceptional benefit that will enable us to actively participate in stimulating collaborations with NASA and its partners."

The signing of the agreement with the National Center for Women in STEM comes during the month of March, which as National Women’s History Month, has been traditionally designated to highlight some of the extraordinary and courageous achievements by women of all races, religions, social and economic standing. Women have made significant contributions to ensure that NASA accomplishes its missions in the fields of science and engineering.

A non-profit organization, the National Center for Women in STEM was established in 2001 to provide opportunities for synergy and collaboration in order to increase the impact of organizations and individuals working to advance women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Leaders of six national women’s organizations who share a common vision are guiding the National Center.

In addition to establishing a national resource center at the new NASA Research Park, the agreement also calls for the creation of collaborative programs to expand the technical and scientific workforce by further developing women’s scientific and technical talents.

"We have not yet tapped the full potential of women in these fields," said Duncan. "Women and girls have unique perspectives and skills that influence our interpretation of science and technology. By increasing their participation and advancement in STEM, we will maximize the benefits of science and technology in our society."

Working with NASA scientists and engineers, the organization plans to create new educational programs, focusing on curriculum enhancement, faculty/teacher development, and providing continuing and higher education opportunities for women and girls.

The agreement also calls for providing increased opportunities and resources for research in information science and technology, and product and technology development. The organization hopes to provide assistance with technology transfer, including technical support for the commercialization of NASA-developed technologies and products.

"This collaboration will provide a unique opportunity for women and girls to become involved in the exciting work that NASA does, particularly the work we do here at Ames," said Nancy Bingham, associate director for systems management and planning at Ames.

NASA’s goal is to develop portions of Moffett Field into the NASA Research Park (NRP), in association with academia, industry and non-profit organizations. Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the NRP is being developed under the NASA Ames Development Plan.

As part of the development process, NASA has established several R&D and education partnerships that provide for research laboratories, office space, classrooms, exhibit halls and other public facilities, such as museums. Academic partners include the University of California at Santa Cruz, San José State University, Carnegie Mellon University, and the Foothill-DeAnza Community College District. Students attending NRP university academic programs will increase Silicon Valley’s high-tech workforce of the future.

Information about the National Center for Women in STEM is available on the web at:

http://www.ncwstem.org

Information about the NASA Research Park can be found at:

http://researchpark.arc.nasa.gov

Information about women’s contributions to the NASA legacy is available on the web at:

http://www.nasa.gov/women/milestones.html

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