NASA Ames Research Center
Pre-Service Teacher Institute (PSTI)
Frequently Asked Questions


Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen in order to apply?
Yes. The program is solely for those with U.S. citizenship.

After successfully completing a PSTI, can I apply to a second PSTI?
No, each participant can attend only one PSTI. The PSTI is an entrance-level program designed for students who have not had an opportunity to participate in a Problem Based Learning (PBL) guided environment.

I'm a freshman undergraduate student, if this program is for undergraduate students, why can't I participate?
Freshman students are not eligible. The program is geared toward students with higher levels of academic experience. You will be able to apply for the program when you are a rising junior.

I am a graduate student getting my Masters in Education, am I eligible for the program?
Yes, as long as you do not have previous teaching experience.


Is it possible for me to send in an application now and remain on file for consideration next year?
No, your application will only be considered for the current year.

 Can references be sent by e-mail?
Yes, the recommendation form can be downloaded from the website and emailed directly to the program.

Who should I get to write my references?
Someone familiar with your academic achievements and abilities should submit references. It is required that you provide one recommendation letter from a college mathematics or science instructor.

Am I required to submit transcripts?
Yes. You must request an official transcript from your current institution.  The official transcript must be included in your complete application package. On the application, you are required to list all science and mathematics courses taken and for which you are currently enrolled. Transcripts must include grades received for all completed courses.

Will you let me know if I am missing parts of my application?
No.  It is your responsibility to ensure that your PSTI application is complete.

Why do I need to pay $25 when I apply for the PSTI Program?
The $25 is used to defray the cost of items not covered by NASA's PSTI Grant (e.g. first and last day luncheons).



How does the selection process work?
When the deadline for all applications arrives, an application review committee will review all the PSTI applications.

How are applications judged?
Your application will be judged on your K-8 educational experience, your application, essay, grades and reference letters. You will also be judged on your commitment to a career in K-8 teaching.

When and how will I find out if I've been selected?
Notification of your selection will be received via a phone call and/or email from the Higher Education Program staff at Ames Research Center. This notification will be followed up with a letter and other documents detailing the two-week PSTI Program. You will have 1 week in which to accept an offer once it has been made. If you fail to notify us of your acceptance (via e-mail or phone call), you will forfeit your selection and another participant will be selected.

If I don't get selected this time, will my application be reviewed again next year automatically or do I have to re-apply?
You must re-apply the following year.



What if I can only participate for a portion of the institute due to other commitments?
Participation requires a full time commitment for the duration of the two-week period. You must insure you will be available full time during the entire two weeks. Only those students that have participated full time in the institute and who have completed all requirements will be awarded the $500 stipend.

Is there any flexibility in start and end dates?
No. The start date for the NASA Ames Research Center PSTI Program is scheduled for June 13 through June 25, 2010. Please note that other NASA Centers across the country offer similar PSTI programs throughout the summer.

Do I get any vacation time during the two-week period?
No. The program does not include vacation or sick leave.

How do I receive my stipend payment and where does it come from?
Your stipend will be paid after all requirements have been met for the PSTI Program. The checks are issued by 'The California Teaching Fellows' California State University, Fresno.

What kind of travel reimbursement will I receive?
Travel reimbursement is given to those living outside of 50-mile radius of Ames Research Center. Participants will be reimbursed for one inbound and outbound travel between their home or school and Ames Research Center.

Do I get college credit for participating the PSTI Program?
Yes, college credit is available from California State University, Fresno.

By participating in this institute, do I become an employee of the administrator, the host institution, or NASA?
No. You will be considered a program participant and will not enter into an employer/employee relationship with the administrator, the host institution, or NASA.