Another year equals another record as NASA’s ASTRO CAMP® initiative reached across the nation and beyond to help a broad spectrum of students learn about NASA and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).
The NASA ASTRO CAMP® Community Partners (ACCP) program surpassed previous milestone marks during fiscal year 2023 by partnering with 331 community sites, including 31 outside the United States, to inspire youth, families, and educators. Participants included students from various population segments, focusing on students from underrepresented groups, accessibility for differently-abled students, and reaching under-resourced urban and rural settings.
“We honor the schools and organizations that have created programs to inspire and encourage young people who may be interested in a future career in STEM,” said Kelly Martin-Rivers, principal investigator for NASA’s ACCP. “Many STEM programs are not recognized for their success, dedication, and mentorship for underrepresented students. ACCP partner sites provide a minimum of 30 hours of NASA STEM activities, and we are proud to honor these programs for bringing quality STEM programs and open access to students everywhere.”
In addition to reaching communities across the country during the most-recent fiscal year, the NASA ACCP program partnered with international sites in Qatar, Ecuador, Mexico, India, Ukraine, and Spain. Overall, more than 115,000 students took part in the program, a more than 300% increase from the 35,000-plus who participated the previous year.
An additional 74,454 students took part in special STEM activities, also an increase from the previous year’s total of almost 44,000. ACCP trained 1,160 facilitators during the fiscal year as well.
As part of the NASA Science Mission Directorate Science Activation program, ACCP continues making strides to bridge disparities and break barriers in STEM. A breakdown of participants from the most-recent year includes 30,828 African American students, 24,285 Hispanic students, 6,928 Asian students, and 1,300 Native American students. Half (51%) of all participants were elementary students, with the remainder split among middle school (28%) and high school (21%) students. A bit more than half (53%) of participants were male.
ACCP activities offer real-world opportunities for students to enhance scientific understanding and contribute to NASA science missions, while also inspiring lifelong learning. The ACCP theme was “2023 NASA Science…Discovering Our Future Together!” The program featured materials and activities related to NASA science missions, astrophysics, heliophysics, Earth science, and planetary science.
The unique methodology teaches students to work collaboratively to complete missions and provides trained community educators to implement the themed NASA modules, developed by the ACCP team, seated at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi.
ASTRO CAMP began at NASA Stennis as a single one-week camp in the 1990s. Since then, it has developed into several adaptable models for schools, museums, universities, libraries, and youth service organizations, enabling a worldwide expansion.
For more information about becoming a NASA ASTRO CAMP Collaborative Community Partner, contact: Kelly Martin-Rivers at email@example.com or 228-688-1500; or Maria Lott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 228-688-1776.
For more on the ASTRO CAMP Collaborative Community Partner Program, visit: https://www.nasa.gov/stennis/stem-engagement-at-stennis/nasa-accp/.