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Ph.D. graduate Segayle Walford serves as an example of graduate student experience through BCCSO.Ph.D. graduate Segayle Walford (Howard University) serves as an example of graduate student experience through BCCSO. Dr. Walford studied the efficacy of assimilating raman lidar derived water vapor fields in mesoscale model forecasts of convective precipitation. She conducted this work as part of a team of NASA, NOAA and Howard experts in mesoscale modeling, boundary layer meteorology, and raman lidar. Dr. Walford is currently continuing related work at NASA as a NASA Postdoctoral Fellow Background

The NASA University Research Centers, or URCs, project is designed to achieve a broad-based, competitive aerospace research capability among the Nation's Minority Institutions, or MIs, that will:
  • Foster new aerospace science and technology concepts
  • Expand the Nation's base for aerospace research and development
  • Develop mechanisms for increased participation by faculty and students of MIs in mainstream research
  • Increase the number of underrepresented and underserved students at Minority Serving Institutions who obtain advanced degrees in NASA-related fields
The specific objectives for URCs are to:
  • Establish significant, multi-disciplinary scientific, engineering, and/or commercial research centers at the host university that contribute substantially to the programs of one or more of the four NASA Mission Directorates described in the NASA Strategic Plan
  • Move increasingly towards gaining support from sources outside the URC project by aggressively pursuing additional funding opportunities offered by the NASA Mission Directorates, industry, and other funding agencies
  • Improve the rates at which U.S. citizens, who historically have been underrepresented in NASA-related fields, are awarded undergraduate and graduate degrees at their respective universities in NASA-related fields
Awards are for five years, and do not exceed $1 million per year. Annually, twenty-five percent of the funding must be used as direct support to students. The 13 active URCs were funded as Group 4 in 2008 and Group 5 in 2009.


The University Research Centers Project has funded 38 Minority Institutions; including Historically Black Colleges and Universities , or HBCUs, Other Minority Universities, or OMUs, and Hispanic Serving Institutions, or HSIs, over five groups of awards since its inception.
  • 1992 Group 1
    • Clark Atlanta University (HBCU)
    • Fisk University (HBCU)
    • Florida A&M University (HBCU)
    • Hampton University (HBCU)
    • Howard University (HBCU)
    • North Carolina A&T University (HBCU)
    • Tuskegee University (HBCU)
  • 1995 Group 2
    • Alabama A&M University (HBCU)
    • Morehouse School of Medicine (HBCU)
    • Prairie View A&M University (HBCU)
    • Tennessee State University (HBCU)
    • University of New Mexico – Albuquerque (OMU)
    • University of Puerto Rico – Mayaquez (OMU)
    • University of Texas at El Paso (OMU)
  • 2002 Group 3
    • Hampton University (HBCU)
    • Morgan State University (HBCU)
    • City University of New York (OMU)
    • Clark Atlanta University (HBCU)
    • Texas Southern University (HBCU)
    • University of Texas at Brownsville (OMU)
    • Tuskegee University (HBCU)
    • University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras (OMU)
    • Norfolk State University (HBCU)
    • Southern University A&M College (HBCU)
    • California State University, Los Angeles (OMU)
  • 2008 Group 4
    • California State University, Los Angeles (HSI))
    • Florida International University (HSI)
    • Howard University (HBCU)
    • Morgan State University (HBCU)
    • Prairie View A&M University (HBCU)
    • Texas Southern University (HBCU)
    • University of Puerto Rico – Rio Piedras (HSI)
  • 2009 Group 5
    • California State University, Long Beach (HSI)
    • Delaware State University (HBCU)
    • North Carolina A&T State University (HBCU)
    • North Carolina Central University (HBCU)
    • University of Texas at Brownsville (HSI)
    • University of Texas at El Paso (HSI)