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December 19, 2013
RELEASE 13-050
NASA awards education grant to Virginia Air & Space Center

Kathy Barnstorff

Megan Steele
Virginia Air & Space Center
757-727-0900, ext. 730

NASA has awarded a half-million dollar education grant to NASA Langley Research Center's official visitors' facility, the Virginia Air & Space Center in downtown Hampton, Va.

The $589,423 award is for "STEMtastic: NASA in Our Community," a two-year project designed to educate and inspire teachers, students and lifelong learners to embrace NASA science, technology, engineering and mathematics or STEM content.

“We are thrilled to have our proposal accepted, and excited to be able to bring NASA STEM education to Hampton roads students and teachers,” said Brian DeProfio, Interim Director of the Virginia Air & Space Center.

The project will increase awareness of NASA activities, while encouraging students to pursue careers that are critical to U.S. economic growth and NASA’s future missions. The Virginia Air & Space Center (VASC) will partner with the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and Analytical Mechanics Associates, Inc., also in Hampton, for the STEMtastic project.

The grant is one of 10 NASA is awarding to informal education institutions in 10 states to further its goal of attracting more students to STEM careers. The institutions will share approximately $7.7 million in grants through NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities.

The organizations include six museums and four NASA visitor centers. They will create interactive exhibits, virtual worlds, professional development activities, and programs to engage students, teachers and the public in STEM. The selected projects have performance periods from one to five years and range in value from approximately $500,000 to $1 million.

The 2013 selected organizations are:

  • U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala.
  • AERO Institute, Palmdale, Calif.
  • Miami Science Museum
  • Children's Museum of Indianapolis
  • Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul
  • St. Louis Science Center
  • Science South Inc., Florence, S.C.
  • Space Center Houston Project
  • Virginia Air & Space Center, Hampton, Va.
  • Pacific Science Center Foundation, Seattle

Projects selected in this year's program will produce NASA-inspired educational opportunities to increase awareness of and engagement in the agency's space exploration achievements and how these benefit life on Earth, as well as educational pathways to careers in space exploration and other STEM fields.

Students of all ages and educators who deliver formal or informal STEM education will learn about NASA's missions in human space exploration, aeronautics, astronomy, robotics, Mars exploration, and remote sensing.

The selected organizations will collaborate with NASA's Museum Alliance, a nationwide network of informal education professionals at 575 science museums, planetariums, NASA visitor centers, Challenger Centers, visitor centers at observatories and parks, nature centers, aquariums and zoos. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Museum Alliance for the agency.

Sixty-seven proposals from institutions in 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, underwent a merit-based peer review process. NASA's Office of Education, agency mission directorates and support offices, and JPL solicited and reviewed the grant applications.

For more information about this year's grant award winners, including project descriptions, visit:


For more information about NASA's Langley Research Center, please go to:


To learn more about the Virginia Air & Space Center, please go to:


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Page Last Updated: December 19th, 2013
Page Editor: Denise Lineberry