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NASA to Award Funds Activating Science for America’s Learners

NASA will award approximately $35 million over four years to eight organizations from across the country to bring agency science to learners of all ages, backgrounds, and communities.

US Map
This map shows the locations across the U.S. where NASA’s Science Activation Program teams are funded.

Selections were made by NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) in collaboration with the agency’s Office of STEM Engagement. The total funding for these investigations is approximately $32 million, with an additional $3 million in co-funding from the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, known as Space Grant. Negotiations are underway now for how much each organization will receive, and final award amounts will be announced later this year.

“Providing opportunities for all the nation’s learners is our goal at NASA,” said Kristen Erickson, director, Science Engagement and Partnerships at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Working together, we are proud to make these new awards to strengthen science across so many communities not typically served.”

The selected institutions and their proposed projects are:

Astronomical Society Of The Pacific – San Francisco, California. Vivian White, Principal Investigator for “Eclipse Ambassadors Prepare Communities Off the Path for Two Solar Eclipses”

Boise State University – Boise, Idaho. Brian Jackson, Principal Investigator for “The Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve STEM Network”

Central Washington University – Ellensburg, Washington. Darci Snowden, Principal Investigator for “Northwest Earth and Space Science Pathway (NESSP)”

Challenger Center for Space Science Education – Washington, D.C. Denise Kopecky, Principal Investigator for “Broadening Participation through Learner Engagement Accessing Real-world NASA SMD Expert Resources (LEARNER)”

Montana State University – Bozeman, Montana. Angela DesJardins, Principal Investigator for “Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project”

NASA Ames Research Center – Moffett Field, California. Juan Torres-Perez, Principal Investigator for “Ocean Community Engagement and Awareness using NASA Observations and Science for Low-Income Hispanic/Latino Students (OCEANOS)”

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Greenbelt, Maryland. Alex Young, Principal Investigator for “A Heliophysics Education and Eclipse Framework by NASA HEAT”

WestEd – San Francisco, California. Kirsten Daehler, Principal Investigator for “Broadening Data Fluency Through the Integration of NASA Assets and Place-Based Learning to Advance Connections, Education, and Stewardship (NASA PLACES)”

The awardees will each receive funding to support the agency’s Science Activation Program, a collaborative network of competitively-selected teams 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.  

The solicitation focused on three areas: engaging learners for the upcoming 2023 annular eclipse and 2024 total solar eclipse over North America; integrating data into science learning; and enabling the nation’s learners to be active participants in the scientific process.

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

For more information about the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Project, visit: