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INSPIRE Frequently Asked Questions
04.24.09
 
Questions
1. What is INSPIRE?
2. What is the Web site for the NASA INSPIRE application?
3. What is the contact information if I am having problems on the NASA INSPIRE application Web site?
4. Students do not all have the same dates for summer vacations. Are accommodations made for variations in student schedules?
5. Which NASA facility will my student attend?
6. If the dates for the INSPIRE Summer STEM Experience are not feasible for the student, is he or she still permitted to participate in the OLC?
7. Is a fee associated with selection into the INSPIRE project?
8. If I live within commuting distance of the NASA facility, will daily transportation be provided?
9. Do I need a Work Permit?
10. What is the work schedule? Do students get holidays off?
11. What are the living arrangements for the Residential Internship?
12. Will I be able to visit home during the eight weeks while participating in Residential Internship?
13. I am a legal resident of Washington State and would be sent to Ames if selected for participation. However, I have family near the Johnson Space Center with whom I might be able to stay with for the duration of the internship. Would this be at all possible?
14. What happens if a student arrives for the Residential Internship and does not like it, cannot adjust or gets homesick? At what point after selection can parents withdraw their students?
15. How can I communicate with my student while he or she is attending the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?
16. What are the dates for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?
17. Will housing be provided for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?
18. What does the word “rising” mean, in relation to grade levels?
19. What will I do during the INSPIRE internship while at a NASA facility?
20. Do I have to be present each day of the eight-week INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?
21. If I am doing the Collegiate Internship, is proof needed of my declared major?
22. What if I have a medical emergency?
23. When and how will I be paid?
24. How much is the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience stipend?
25. How will I know where to go and what to do at the start of my internship?
26. What qualities are you looking for in students?
27. What are the expectations of students?
28. What is the dress code?
29. What majors are required?
30. Can I still apply for this year after the open enrollment for the OLC closes, or the application deadline for the specific INSPIRE Summer STEM experience has passed?
31. What about other NASA internships, competitions and grants?




Answers

Q1. What is INSPIRE?

A. INSPIRE is an acronym for Interdisciplinary National Science Program Incorporating Research and Education Experience. Its purpose is to encourage high school students, who are U.S. citizens, to pursue education and careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

The INSPIRE project has two main components:
  1. The Online Learning Community, or OLC
    The OLC provides a place for INSPIRE students to interact with their peers, NASA experts and education specialists. Through grade-level-appropriate activities, chats and the discussion board, students and their families will be exposed to the many careers and opportunities at NASA. Participation in the OLC is granted after a student completes the online application process and is selected by NASA.

    Participation in the Summer STEM Experience is for select students who complete the online application. This application form is separate and distinct from the OLC application. Participants will be chosen for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience from the OLC.

  2. Summer STEM Experience
    The Summer STEM Experience provides selected students hands-on experiences to investigate education and careers in STEM at a NASA facility or university. Experiences are divided into four tiers based on the most recently completed grade level:
  • Explorer Experience (students between their ninth- and 10th-grade): VIP tour of a NASA facility with parent; three days with travel
  • Collegiate Experience (students between their 10th- and 11th-grade): two-week on-campus collegiate experience at a technical university (chaperoned by the university)
  • Residential Internship (students between their 11th- and 12th-grade): eight-week apprentice experience with a NASA mentor at a NASA facility (chaperoned by INSPIRE)
  • Collegiate Internship (students who have graduated high school and have been accepted to attend a college or university pursuing a STEM degree): eight-week intern experience with a NASA mentor at a NASA facility (students on their own)
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Q2. What is the Web site for the NASA INSPIRE application?

A. https://inspire.okstate.edu


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Q3. What is the contact information if I am having problems on the NASA INSPIRE application Web site?

A. E-mail any questions or concerns to inspireapp@okstate.edu.


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Q4. Students do not all have the same dates for summer vacations. Are accommodations made for variations in student schedules?

A. NASA facilities may make very slight variations to the schedule regarding the Collegiate Internship. Because individual students are part of a larger group in the Collegiate Experience and the Residential Internship, they must adhere to the schedule dates provided.


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Q5. Which NASA facility will my student attend?

A. The facility that the student will attend depends upon the state of legal residency. Please refer to the list of facilities service areas provided on the Web site.


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Q6. If the dates for the INSPIRE Summer STEM Experience are not feasible for the student, is he or she still permitted to participate in the OLC?

A. Yes, students are encouraged to participate in the OLC, even if they are unavailable for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience. The OLC is intended to serve as an ongoing resource throughout the year for students who have been selected.


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Q7. Is a fee associated with selection into the INSPIRE project?

A. No.


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Q8. If I live within commuting distance of the NASA facility, will daily transportation be provided?

A. Transportation depends upon the Summer STEM Experience in which the student is selected to participate. Students participating in the Residential Internship are provided with housing and daily transportation to and from the NASA facility. The Collegiate Internship is not a residential program; therefore, students are responsible for daily transportation to and from the NASA facility and for all their housing requirements.


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Q9. Do I need a Work Permit?

A. A Work Permit is not required with the application. Only selected candidates will be required to submit a California Work Permit. Further details will be provided to selected candidates.


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Q10. What is the work schedule? Do students get holidays off?

A. Work schedules vary at each facility and will be determined by the student's mentor. Students will be expected to work a similar schedule as a full-time employee would.


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Q11. What are the living arrangements for the Residential Internship?

A. Arrangements are made by INSPIRE for students to reside in a dormitory at a college campus located near the NASA facility. Rooms typically house two to four students and are separated by gender. An INSPIRE Chaperone supervises students during off-work hours, including all evenings and weekends.


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Q12. Will I be able to visit home during the eight weeks while participating in the Residential Internship?

A. Students are expected to participate in all after-work and weekend cultural and enrichment activities. The residential experience provides a unique opportunity to develop team-building skills. As a result, parents are discouraged from visiting the student and allowing the student to return home during the internship.


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Q13. I am a legal resident of Washington State and would be sent to Ames if selected for participation. However, I have family near the Johnson Space Center with whom I might be able to stay with for the duration of the internship. Would this be at all possible?

A. No. Students would work at the facility which services the state where they are legal residents.


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Q14. What happens if a student arrives for the the Residential Internship and does not like it, cannot adjust or gets homesick? At what point after selection can parents withdraw their students?

A. Students may withdraw from the program at any time. If they do so after beginning the program, they are responsible for the making the arrangements and paying the costs associated with their return home. An official written notification, including the reason the student is withdrawing, must be signed and dated by the student, parent and the INSPIRE Chaperone. The written notification will be provided to the NASA facility Project Specialist.


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Q15. How can I communicate with my student while he or she is attending the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?

A. Most students have cell phones and may use them while they are at the NASA facility, during off-work hours, and during the evening and weekend hours. If a student does not have a cell phone, the INSPIRE Chaperone will assist in making arrangements to make phone calls to family members. In addition, students will have access to computers with e-mail capability.


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Q16. What are the dates for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?

A. Each NASA facility has varying dates. See the Web site for the specific dates.


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Q17. Will housing be provided for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?

A. The Collegiate Experience and the Residential Internship are residential programs. The Collegiate Experience provides housing for the two-week duration, and the Residential Internship, for the eight-week duration. However, housing will not be provided for the Collegiate Internship.


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Q18. What does the word “rising” mean, in relation to grade levels?

A. Rising refers to the grade level the student will be entering into during the fall of the next school year. For example, the term “rising junior” indicates that, at the time a student completes the application for an INSPIRE Summer STEM experience, he or she is in the sophomore grade of high school. But in the fall of that year, the student will be entering the junior yea.


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Q19. What will I do during the INSPIRE internship while at a NASA facility?

A. Students gain valuable on-the-job experience working with and being mentored by engineers, scientists and other professionals who provide work assignments and day-to-day guidance. The student will become a member of the mentor’s project team and be expected to contribute to the work requirements of that specific project. The internship will include opportunities that provide insight into how that project fits into the overall NASA mission, to the NASA facilities, to varied NASA career options and employment opportunities.


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Q20. Do I have to be present each day of the eight-week INSPIRE Summer STEM experience?

A. Yes. However, circumstances such as illness will be considered on a case-by-case basis.


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Q21. If I am doing the Collegiate Internship, is proof needed of my declared major?

A. At a minimum, students must provide a copy of their college acceptance letter. If a college or university accepts the student into his or her intended major field of study, the student should provide proof of that designated acceptance as well.


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Q22. What if I have a medical emergency?

A. The INSPIRE Summer STEM experience application will require that students provide some medical information to be used in the event of an emergency. Each NASA facility has emergency medical procedures. Participants will be informed of those procedures during Orientation. In addition, the Collegiate Experience and Residential Internship INSPIRE Chaperones will advise their students of emergency procedures established by the college where they are located. If a student has a medical emergency, those procedures will be followed. The student will be taken to the closest medical facility. The parents will be contacted immediately and will be responsible for making the arrangements and paying the costs of all those arrangements associated with the return home. An official written notification, including the reason the student is withdrawing, must be signed and dated by the student, parent and the INSPIRE Chaperone. The written notification must then be submitted to the NASA facility Project Specialist.


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Q23. When and how will I be paid?

A. Students will be paid by debit card in three installments: at the start of the internship, at the conclusion of the fourth week, and at the completion of the internship, providing all requirements are met.


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Q24. How much is the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience stipend?

A. Residential interns are provided with lodging, meals, daily transportation to and from the NASA facility for eight weeks, transportation and entry to all evening and weekend events, and a stipend equivalent to a full time employee, based on the minimum wage of the state of their assigned NASA facility. Collegiate interns are provided a $5,000 stipend, with lodging and transportation being a personal responsibility.


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Q25. How will I know where to go and what to do at the start of my internship?

A. Students are selected for internships at the NASA facility that services the state in which the student has legal residence. An information packet will be sent to all selected interns. This packet will contain information, instructions and forms that are to be completed and signed regarding all conditions of the internship. The student will be provided with names and contact information for those who can best answer specific types of INSPIRE questions


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Q26. What qualities are you looking for in students?

A. Qualities such as the ability to work in teams; demonstrated leadership potential; interest in and participation in extra-curricular activities and/or community services; evidence of good written and oral communication skills; pursuit of career exploration opportunities; and high achievement in academic courses are qualities that match those of students who are successful in INSPIRE.


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Q27. 27. What are the expectations of students?

A. Students selected as participants will demonstrate an enthusiasm for and desire to learn, a willingness to follow all guidance and rules, and exhibit respectful behavior toward others and self.


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Q28. What is the dress code?

A. Each facility has varying expectation for appropriate dress. Students are expected to dress appropriately, demonstrating respect for themselves and others. Shorts, cutoffs, flip flops and bare midriffs are not acceptable. The student will be notified by the NASA facility if there are specific dress requirements.


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Q29. What majors are required?

A. Typically, high school students in grades 9-11 may not yet have decided on a college major. Although specific majors are not required, the purpose of the project is to encourage STEM education and careers.


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Q30. Can I still apply for this year after the open enrollment for the OLC closes, or the application deadline for the specific INSPIRE Summer STEM experience has passed?

A. No, the application Web site will only be available during specific dates during the year. We must adhere to the enrollment periods for entrance into the OLC and also to the deadlines for the applications for the INSPIRE Summer STEM experience. The announcement for the applications and deadlines for the next year will be posted on the Web site.


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Q31. What about other NASA internships, competitions and grants?

A. Information about all NASA internships, competitions and grants with specific contact persons are found on the following Web site: http://www.nasa.gov/education. In addition, each NASA facility has various internship opportunities listed on each facility's Web site.


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