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Minorities in Science

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. 
Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience,
and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
— Harriet Tubman

NASA technician W.L. Jones inspects a transport model Pathfinder I between test runs at Langley’s National Transonic Facility (NTF). The stainless steel model is representative of the next generation of subsonic transports. With the help of super-cold nitrogen and high pressure, the NTF is the first major wind tunnel that can simulate full scale aerodynamic flight conditions.
Credits: NASA

Have you ever dreamed of one day working at NASA? Well, the opportunity is at your doorstep. At NASA, you’ll have the chance to work with a diverse group of professionals on challenging missions that truly makes an impact on humanity and space exploration.

Nearly 18, 000 of the nation’s top scientists, engineers and business professionals work across the United States at the Agency’s 10 centers. Some of these trailblazing pioneers are Dr. Nancy Grace Roman, first chief woman astronomer to hold an executive position at NASA; Annie Easley, computer scientist and mathematician who began her career as a “human computer” running simulations for researchers at the Plum Brook Reactor Facility; Dr. Mae Jemison, first African-American woman astronaut; Dr. Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar an Indian-American scientist known to the world as Chandra and widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists for his theoretical studies of the physical processes important to the structure and evolution of stars, and pictured is W.L. Jones inspector technician at NASA’s Langley National Transonic Facility (NTF) of the next generation of full scale aerodynamic flight conditions of subsonic transports.

At NASA, diversity is central to the Agency’s success through innovation, creativity and contribution of organizations and individuals. A few opportunities open to minorities include:

  • The Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), Administered through NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, the program provides financial assistance and awards to minority serving institutions such as Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions, American Indian Tribal Colleges and Universities, Native American-Serving Nontribal Institutions. These institutions recruit and retain underrepresented and underserved students, including women and girls, and persons with disabilities, into science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
  • To help train the next generation of NASA’s minority scientists and engineers, NASA created the Minority University-SPace Interdisciplinary Network (MU-SPIN), The program serves America’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Tribal Colleges.
  • If you are a student looking for the opportunity to participate in either research or other experiential learning under the guidance of a mentor at NASA, explore NASA Internships and fellowships diversity workforce programs,

Diversity is among all of us, especially here at NASA. We are the pioneers, star sailors, thinkers, visionaries, and doers that work together to send mankind to space farther than humanity has ever been. Working at NASA is not just a job, it’s a lifelong pursuit – a passion and chance to be stewards of the Earth by paving the path to aeronautics and space exploration for all.

This webpage offers a selection of materials about NASA minority programs for young people who have the desire and passion to work areas of science research and space exploration. This webpage also includes video testimonies of NASA’s team of world-class experts in engineering, science, business, project management, and data science who share a passion for exploration and a drive for excellence.

All items are available at the Headquarters Library, except as noted. NASA Headquarters employees and contractors: Call x0168 or email for information on borrowing or in-library use of any of these items.

Members of the public: Contact your local library for the availability of these items.

NASA Headquarters employees can request additional materials or research on this topic. The Library welcomes your comments or suggestions ( about this webpage.


The following standards, policies, and procedural requirements can be accessed by anyone through the NASA Online Directives Information Systems or through the NASA Standards website


Diversity and Equal Opportunity

Special Emphasis Programs


NASA STEM Engagement

Armstrong Flight Research Center, Office of STEM Engagement

Goddard Space Flight Center Special Emphasis Program


Marshall Space Flight Center STEM Engagement


Burns, Khephra. Black Stars in Orbit. San Diego, CA: Harcourt, Brace, and Co., 1995.
TL 789.85 .A1 B87 1995 BOOKSTACKS

Corrigan, Grace. A Journal for Christa: Christa McAuliffe, Teacher in Space. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1993.
TL 789.85 .M33 C67 1993 BOOKSTACKS

Hohler, Robert. I Touch the Future: The Story of Christa McAuliffe. New York, NY: Random House, 1986.
TL 789.85 .M33 H64 BOOKSTACKS

Jackson, Garnet Nelson. Mae Jemison Astronaut. Cleveland, OH: Modern Curriculum Press, 1994.
TL 789.85 .J4 J33 1994 BOOKSTACKS

Jemison, Mae. Find Where the Wind Goes: Moments From My Life. New York, NY: Scholastic Press, 2001.
TL 789.85 .J4 J45 2001 BOOKSTACKS

Lee Shetterly, Margot. Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race, first ed. New York, NY: William Morrow, 2016.
QA 27.5 .L44 2016 BOOKSTACKS

Melvin, Leland. Chasing Space: An Astronaut’s Story of Grit, Grace, and Second Chances. New York, NY: Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2017.
TL 789.85 .M46 A3 2017 BOOKSTACKS

Mitchell, Alison, C. (researcher) and Flahavan, Leslie O. (writer). African American Pioneers in Aviation 1920-Present: Teacher Guide. Washington, D.C.: Education Services, National Air and Space Museum and Smithsonian Institution, 1999.
TL 553 .A37 1999 BOOKSTACKS

Phelps, J. Alfred. They Had a Dream: The Story of African American Astronauts. Novato, CA: Presido, 1994.
TL789.85. A1 P43 1994 BOOKSTACKS

Powell, William J. Black Aviator: The Story of William J. Powell. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1994.
TL 553 .P6 1994 BOOKSTACKS

Toldson, Ivory A. and Esters, Lorenzo L. The Quest for Excellence: Supporting the Academic Success of Minority Males in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Disciplines. Washington, D.C.: Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, 2012.
LC 3731 .T653 Q478 2012 BOOKSTACKS
Available Online: (

Tyson, Neil De Grasse. The Sky is not the Limit: Adventures of an Urban Astrophysicist. New York, NY: Doubleday, 2000.
QB 460 .T97 2000 BOOKSTACKS

Walton, Darwin McBeth. Overcoming Challenges: The Life of Charles F. Bolden, Jr. Austin, TX: Steck-Vaughn Co., 2000.
TL 789.85 .B65 W35 2000 BOOKSTACKS


National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. Roundtable on Data Science Postsecondary Education: A Compilation of Meeting Highlights. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2020.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2021. Cultivating Interest and Competencies in Computing: Authentic Experiences and Design Factors. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2021.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2020. Roundtable on Data Science Postsecondary Education: A Compilation of Meeting Highlights. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2020.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine 2018. An American Crisis: The Growing Absence of Black Men in Medicine and Science: Proceeding of a Joint Workshop. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2018.

O’Connell, Diane. Strong Force: The Story of Physicist Shirley Ann Jackson. Washington, DC: Joseph Henry Press, 2006.





Holbrook, Charmain Jarita; Gu, Diane; Traweek, Sharon. “Reaching for the Stars Without an Invitation, Women and Minorities Must Rely on Their Own Initiative.” American Scientist, 106(5), September-October 2017.

Nadkarni, Nalini M.; Scalice, Daniella; Morris, Jeremy S.; Trivett, Joslyn R.; Bush, Kelli; Anholt, Allison; Horns, Joshua J.; Davey, Bradford T. and Davis, Hilarie B. “Effects of Astrobiology Lectures on Knowledge and Attitudes about Science in Incarcerated Populations.” Astrobiology, 20(10), 2020.

Oliver, Daniel; Fairlie, Robert; Millhauser, Glenn and Roland, Randa. “Minority Student and Teaching Assistant Interactions in STEM.” Economics in Education Review, 83(102125), August 2021.

Strauss, Beck E.; Borgess, Schuyler, R.; Faridani, Thea; Grier, Jennifer; Kiihne, Avery; Maier, Erin R.; Olsen, Charlotte; O’Neill, Theo; Rivera-Valentin, Edgard, G.; Sneed, Evan L.; Waller, Dany; Zamlot, Vic. “Nonbinary Systems: Looking Towards the Future of Gender Equity in Planetary Science”. Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey 2023-2032. (September 14, 2020)
Available in (document 20205007313)

Werner, Debra and Henry, Caleb. “How the Space Sector is Responding to the Killing of George Floyd.” Space News, July 15, 2020.

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. African American Pioneers in Aviation and Space. [accessed May 2021]

Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Hidden Figures and Human Computers. [posted Jan. 26, 2017]


American Astronomical Society. Committee on the Status of Minorities. June 2020.

American Physical Society. Minorities in Physics. (accessed May 2021)

Department of Defense STEM Opportunities

National Science Foundation. National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics. Women, Minorities, and Persons with Disabilities in Science and Engineering. [March 8, 2019]

National Science Foundation Programs for Veterans

NOAA Multicultural Initiative in the Marine Sciences (MIMSUP)

U.S. Department of Education, Minority Science and Engineering Improvement Program

USDA Women and Minorities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Fields Grant Program (WAMS)