Suggested Searches

4 min read

NASA Selects Proposals to Help Learners of All Ages ‘Do’ Science

NASA is funding 30 awards across the U.S to implement the next phase of Science Activation—a community-based approach to connect NASA science with learners of all ages. The selected proposals will broaden participation of underrepresented and underserved learners, as well as expand connections with the agency’s scientists and engineers. Nine new awardees join a network of 21 that received extensions into the next phase of the program. 

Image of young girl in a field of flowers
NASA’s Science Activation Program connects NASA science experts, real content, and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond.
u003cstrongu003eu003cemu003eNASA/Jenny Mottaru003c/emu003eu003c/strongu003e

The Science Activation Program, known as SciAct, is a cooperative network of competitively selected teams across the Nation that connect NASA science experts, real content, and experiences with community leaders to do science in ways that activate minds and promote deeper understanding of our world and beyond.  

“Through innovative partnerships and networks, we’re enabling learners of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the advancement of knowledge,” said Kristen Erickson, director, Science Engagement and Partnerships at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “I’m thrilled this accomplished group of awardees builds upon the SciAct excellence recognized by the National Academies.”

The selections and extensions were made by the agency’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and will support the science discipline areas of Earth science, astrophysics, planetary science, and heliophysics. The total funding for these investigations is approximately $36 million. 

The list of new awardees (principal investigators, and organizations) is: 

NASA’s Neurodiversity Network (N3) 

  • N3 will create inclusive informal learning opportunities across the spectrum, providing a pathway to NASA participation and STEM employment for neurodiverse learners, with a focus on those on the autism spectrum.  
  • Principal Investigator: Lynn Cominsky at Sonoma State University in Rohnert Park, California 

Native Earth | Native Sky (NENS) 

  • The NENS program will build culturally relevant earth-sky STEM programming for middle schoolers in three Oklahoma Native American nations that will increase the students’ understanding of and interest in STEM. 
  • Principal Investigator: Kathryn Gardner-Vandy at Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, Oklahoma 

Student Airborne Science Activation for MSI (SaSa) 

  • The SaSa project will work to address minority representation in geosciences (comprised of ocean, atmosphere, and Earth sciences) by engaging students through NASA-related airborne campaigns. 
  • Principal Investigator: Charles Gatebe at the Ames Research Center in Moffet Field, CA 

Cosmic Storytelling with NASA Data (CosmicDS) 

  • The CosmicDS project will facilitate connections between astronomers who want to tell the story of a discovery and inspire learners by letting them interrogate the data behind the story on their own, using easy-to-use but powerful data science and visualization techniques.  
  • Principal Investigator: Alyssa Goodman; Science PI: Patricia Udomprasert, both at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts

SciAct STEM Ecosystems 

  • This Community of Practice for Diversity and Inclusion will bring together personnel from SciAct projects that engage lifelong learners to broaden participation of underrepresented and underserved learners. 
  • Principal Investigator: Rae Ostman at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona

Planetary Resources and Content Heroes (ReaCH) 

  • Planetary ReaCH is an engagement model that will prepare planetary science subject matter experts to engage audiences within the SciAct portfolio, with an explicit focus on Black and Latinx communities. 
  • Principal Investigator: Andrew Shaner at the Universities Space Research Association/ /Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas

The NASA Community College Network (NCCN) 

  • The NCCN will bring NASA science subject matter experts and NASA science resources into the classrooms of the nation’s community college system. 
  • Principal Investigator: Simon Steel at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California 

NASA SMD Community of Practice for Education (SCoPE) 

  • SCoPE will create a sustainable process through which Earth, space science, and engineering subject matter experts will join education experts from SciAct to form a community of practice around engagement. 
  • Principal Investigator: Meenakshi (Mini) Wadhwa at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona 

The Eclipse Soundscapes Citizen Science Project (ES:CSP) 

  • The ES:CSP project will work to create an authentic learning experience that utilizes SMEs and evidence-based practices to increase the understanding of the scientific process and address accessibility challenges, specifically those experienced by people who are blind and low vision. 
  • Principal Investigator: Henry Winter of the ARISA Lab L.L.C. in Medford, Massachusetts  

The complete list of teams can be found at:

For more information on NASA’s science programs, please visit: