NASA and the Nation need a diverse and skilled science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) workforce today and in the future. We are committed to engaging, inspiring, and attracting future generations of explorers and building a diverse future STEM workforce through a broad set of programs, projects, internship opportunities, activities, and products that connect students to NASA’s mission, work, and people. NASA’s work in STEM Engagement is a collaborative endeavor which encompasses efforts across the Office of STEM Engagement, the Mission Directorates, and the Field Centers.
What We Do
Create unique opportunities for a diverse set of students to contribute to NASA’s work in exploration and discovery.
Build a diverse future STEM workforce by engaging students in authentic learning experiences with NASA’s people, content and facilities.
Attract diverse groups of students to STEM through learning opportunities that spark interest and provide connections to NASA’s mission and work.
NASA Strategy for STEM Engagement
The 2023 NASA Strategic Plan Objective 4.3 Build the Next Generation of Explorers, establishes the agency priority on the importance of engaging students to become the diverse STEM workforce of the future. The NASA Strategy for STEM Engagement provides the framework to achieve this objective and describes the cross-cutting design principles foundational for this work. It guides the Agency’s work to benefit students, educators, and educational institutions, and to build the next generation of explorers with the technical skills needed to continue pursuing NASA’s mission.
NASA has long held a culture of using evidence to inform its endeavors. As an Agency at the cutting edge of exploration, scientific discovery, and technological development, NASA believes that frequently and thoroughly examining and evaluating its programs, missions, and projects leads to future success. NASA STEM Engagement is committed to strong evidence-building practices, and the Office of STEM Engagement performance assessment and evaluation strategy with three key components – performance and evaluation activities and a learning agenda – is one critical tool in systematic evidence-building used to identify the priorities we believe will help build the next generation of explorers.
NASA has a rich history of collaborating across the STEM ecosystem to foster innovative student experiences that leverage mission, people, and facilities.
NASA conducts strategic partnerships with a wide range of external STEM engagement stakeholder organizations. These unfunded collaborators gain access to NASA mission data and imagery, subject matter expertise in scientific and technical disciplines connected to our Mission, and support with curation of NASA education resources, products, and materials. Through these efforts, we coordinate with industry, educational institutions, and non-profit organizations to support development of high-quality opportunities for both youth outside of the classroom and students in pre-kindergarten through graduate school.
NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement provides guidance and strategic direction of the agency’s STEM engagement portfolio. The STEM Engagement program encompasses four projects which collaborates with NASA mission directorates and field centers to maximize the agency’s reach and impact.
Next Gen STEM
Next Gen STEM develops and deploys evidence-based STEM learning opportunities that provide a platform for students to learn via NASA’s endeavors in exploration and discovery. Through Next Gen STEM, NASA makes vital investments in informal education that include competitive awards, engages K-12 students, builds networks within the formal education ecosystem, engages educators through the NASA CONNECTS community of practice, trains NASA STEM experts to expand work with students, and offers challenges and competitions to broaden student participation.
National Space Grant College and Fellowship Project
NASA implements Space Grant, a national network of colleges and universities with over 1,000 affiliate institutions and organizations working to expand opportunities for students to participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects. Space Grant is made up of 52 consortia located in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. Space Grant provides valuable learning experiences for undergraduate and graduate students and delivers experiential opportunities for middle and high school students.
Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
NASA EPSCoR establishes partnerships with Government, higher education, and industry that are designed to drive sustainable improvements in a state or region’s research infrastructure, research and development capacity, and competitiveness in eligible jurisdictions.
Minority University Research and Education Project
MUREP provides support via competitive opportunities and awards to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) that address specific gaps needs while building capacity at the institution. These multiyear grants are awarded to Minority Institution faculty and students in research leveraging NASA’s unique and exciting mission and work. MUREP investments enhance the research, academic, and technology capabilities of MSIs to bolster their capacity in educating and preparing students for STEM careers.
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