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Exploring Project - Ages 14 through 20

Project Description

The Exploring Project is a collaborative undertaking of Glenn Research Center’s (GRC’s) Educational Programs Office (EPO) and the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This educational project provides exposure to research and technology activities specific to GRC and is designed to promote students interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Exploring is part of Learning for Life’s career education program, affiliated with the BSA, for young men and women who are 14 through 20 years old. Explorer posts are usually initiated by local community organizations by matching their expertise, people, and resources to that of interests of young people in the community. NASA GRC, in collaboration with the BSA, has hosted Explorer posts since the 1970s. GRC volunteers, who serve as Exploring Advisors, lead these posts and meet once a week from October to April to explore various aspects of STEM, NASA, and GRC. The five posts are listed in this application.

Project Goal

The primary goal of the Exploring Project is to expose students to different career choices in STEM with NASA and GRC. The EPO is committed to increasing the number and diversity of students from underrepresented and underserved communities in NASA-related STEM fields. Traditionally, underrepresented groups in STEM include females, African-Americans, Hispanics, Native Americans, Pacific Islanders (natives of the Philippines, Guam, American Samoa, or Micronesia), and disabled students. Please be advised that while the project is open to all equally qualified candidates, GRC is very interested in recruiting applicants who belong to a recognized underrepresented group in STEM.

The five activity groups in the Glenn Exploring Project are:

Students in Explorer Post 630

Post 630, Aeronautics Activities

Youth in this group will explore science, engineering, technology, and mathematics as applied to aerospace vehicles and propulsion systems. The post members explore aeronautics and propulsion concepts by building, testing, and flying models. Past post activities have included designing and testing of high-efficiency wings for aircraft, wind tunnel models, model rockets, and fan jet powered model cars as well as turbojet engine experiments, discussions of current events in aerospace, and GRC facility visits. The post activities are guided by the student’s interests and desires.

Students during Eplorer Post Project working at Computer.

Post 631, Computer Technology

Youth in this group participate in a variety of computer activities. Students learn computer technology through challenging and interesting hands-on activities. Creativity is encouraged. The students gain experience in fields such as animation, robotics, graphics, game programming, Web development, Arduino programming, signal processing, data acquisition, and image processing. They are also exposed to the traditional topics including programming, computer architecture, and basic circuitry. The post goes on a variety of tours of labs both at GRC and in the Greater Cleveland area. Fun activities are included such as going to play Whirlyball and hiking with an experienced guide. Students also participate in a group volunteer activity.

Students in Explorer Post during BalloonSat

Post 632, Balloon Sat Technology

Students in BalloonSat Post 632 will collaboratively design experiments for a springtime high-altitude balloon flight. The balloon will fly to about 100,000 ft up where the payloads will be above 99 percent of the atmosphere. The students will construct payload boxes and test hardware over the course of the school year. This is an opportunity to do real science in a near space environment 19 miles up. Competitions, tours, and a holiday party add to the main focus of planning for a successful flight day. A fall kickoff balloon flight is planned (weather permitting) for a chance for students to participate in a balloon launch and recovery.

Students in Explorer Post 633

Post 633, Human Space Flight

Youth in this group will explore Human Spaceflight through a variety of hands-on activities. Learn the fundamentals of rocketry, power systems, robotics, and GPS Orienteering. Build, test, and launch your own model rocket, discover robotics, and build a robot. Participate in a robotics competition. Discover interesting environmental phenomena and discover what is required to protect a human crew from solar flares and cosmic radiation. Through various activities, you will learn how to cooperate and make decisions as a team. Work on a team to design a future space mission. Participate in research facility tours and make new friends.

Eplorer Students in Green Lab

Post 634, eXtreme Green

Youth will participate in eXtreme activities by experiencing what the next generation of GreenLab will be in the future. We concentrate on finding alternative, renewable, and sustainable solutions for selfsustainable renewable energy ecosystems and will be monitoring the Big 6 metrics in the GreenLab Research Facility. Youth will be engaged in conducting biofuel, biomass, and alternative energy optimization experiments, participate in eXtreme roundtable discussions, as well as analyze eXtreme green data that will be used in a world-class laboratory. The students will gain experience in the fields of biology, chemistry, electrical engineering, environmental science, mathematics, robotics, and fluid physics.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Applicant must be a U.S. citizen, and 14 through 20 years old by the application deadline.

Project Requirements

  • All students (including past participants) must submit an application and meet the eligibility requirements.
  • Students can participate in the same post for a maximum of 2 years.
  • Students and parent(s)/guardians(s) are required to attend the Orientation on Thurs., Sept. 27, 2012.
  • Students are expected to adhere to the tenure period (October to April).
  • Students must complete a pre and post-evaluation. Completion of these forms is a project requirement, as your feedback is integral to the success of our programs.

Application Information

Please check back in May 2013 for the 2013-2014 application.

Project Selection Process

Student requests will be accepted on a first come and first serve basis. The application must be complete for consideration. Exploring placements are dependent upon the availability of the requested post slots. The EPO cannot guarantee an Exploring experience. Each post has limited placement.

NASA Glenn Educational Programs Office Contact:
GRC Educational Programs Office
Phone: (216) 433-6656