NASA has selected a variety of projects that take innovative approaches to broadening student participation in science, technology, engineering, and math to receive awards totaling approximately $12.5 million. The awards will help the sponsoring colleges, universities, and informal education institutions like museums, bring spaceflight inspiration and high-priority research opportunities to students from communities underrepresented in STEM fields.

“Reaching students with authentic STEM experiences and opportunities is an investment in the workforce we’ll need to meet our nation’s goals in space today, and in the future,” said Mike Kincaid, associate administrator for the Office of STEM Engagement at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It’s vital we continue to collaborate with educational institutions and support their efforts to bring the excitement of NASA’s missions to the students in their communities.”

The awards are funded through three of NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement programs: NASA’s Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR), which provides meaningful aerospace research opportunities to students in eligible U.S. jurisdictions; Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) for American Indian and Alaska Native STEM Engagement (MAIANSE), which serves Native American and Indigenous communities; and Next Generation STEM (Next Gen STEM), which focuses on sparking a love of STEM among students in grades K-12.

Boosting Research that Contributes to NASA

NASA EPSCoR’s Research cooperative agreements enable college and university students to contribute to studies that align with the agency’s priorities and provide a boost to areas that historically offered few opportunities to participate in aerospace research. Through the 2022 NASA EPSCoR Research solicitation, the agency has awarded more than $10.4 million to 14 universities to conduct research and technology development in areas important to the agency’s mission.

The selected institutions and their proposed projects are:

  • University of Alaska, Fairbanks
    Translating Hibernation for Space Torpor and Remote Emergency Medicine
  • University of Arkansas, Little Rock
    Arkansas – ARKSAT-3: Toward the Development of Technologies and Science Missions for Interplanetary CubeSats Flying in Formation as Active Spectroscopy Instruments
  • University of Delaware, Newark
    High Performance W-band GaN Power Amplifiers for Cloud Doppler Radar Arrays
  • University of Idaho, Moscow
    On-Demand Manufacturing of Smart Systems for Structural Health Monitoring
  • University of Kentucky, Lexington
    Multi-Scale Data-Driven Modeling of Radiative Transport Through Thermal Protection Systems
  • Maine Space Grant Consortium, Augusta
    Metastable Oxygen Nanobubbles to Advanced Life Support Systems in Space Exploration
  • University of Mississippi, Oxford
    Development of an Improved Visualization Tool for the Assessment of Climate Change Impacts on Mississippi Sound Coastal Waters using Integrated NASA Satellite and Novel Autonomous Surface Vessel Collected Field Datasets
  • Montana State University, Bozeman
    A Transdisciplinary Approach to Assess Measurements of Albedo Across Snowy Landscapes Using Multiple Sensors at Multiple Scales
  • University of Nebraska, Omaha
    Femtosecond Laser Functionalized Surfaces for Cryogenic Fluid Management
  • University of New Hampshire, Durham
    High-Temperature Effective Piezoelectric Composites for Future Space Self-Powering Sensors
  • University of Puerto Rico, San Juan
    Paving the Way for Astrophysics Research in Puerto Rico
  • Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island
    Planetary Methane in Ultramafic Contexts: Searching for Cyclicity in Methane Emissions at a Planetary Analog Site in Northern California
  • University of The Virgin Islands, Charlotte Amalie
    Application of UAV and Satellite Based Optical Sensors to Help Preserve the Coral Reefs of the US Virgin Islands
  • West Virginia University, Morgantown
    Surface States and Doping in Aluminum Prototypes for NASA Detector Development

Weaving Indigenous Culture with NASA Missions

Through MAIANSE CONNECT, NASA requested proposals centered on the weaving of indigenous knowledge with NASA missions. The solicitation addressed the needs of indigenous communities to be served in culturally relevant and respectful ways. The agency selected three minority-serving institutions to receive nearly $1.3 million in cooperative agreements for four projects aimed at fostering connections between indigenous culture and NASA.

While MAIANSE has historically provided support to Tribal Colleges and Universities, MAIANSE CONNECT expanded eligibility to include other institutions, specifically Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian and Native American Serving Non-Tribal Institutions.

The selected institutions and their proposed projects are:

  • Navajo Technical College, Crownpoint, New Mexico
    NASA and the Navajo Nation: Weaving Western STEM and Navajo TraditionalKnowledge into an Educational Ecosystem
  • Navajo Technical College, Crownpoint, New Mexico
    NASA MAIANSE CONNECTing Scheme for Promoting Indigenous Culture and Ethics among Students (SPICES) with STEM
  • Northern Oklahoma College, Tonkawa
    Exploring the Sun and the Night Sky Through the Lens of the Skywatchers
  • University of Hawaii, Honolulu
    Ka mālamalama o ka mahina: Building Pathways for Indigenous Lunar Science in Hawaiʻi

Supporting STEM in Underserved Communities

NASA’s Teams Engaging Affiliated Museums and Informal Institutions (TEAM II) program has selected an additional informal education organization to help inspire the next generation of explorers and to expand student participation in STEM fields.

The agency has selected Adler Planetarium in Chicago and its proposed project, Climate Change and Me: Engaging Young People with NASA Data, Missions and Careers through Immersive Visualizations, Planetarium Programs, and Virtual Experiences. Through on-site and virtual field trips, students in grades 5 through 8 will learn about global climate change concepts, analyze data and various factors that may determine how certain human activities affect the Earth’s climate.

Adler Planetarium joins three awardees announced in January 2022. The agency will award approximately $800,000 to each of the selected organizations, which will implement their proposals over the next two to four years.

Informal education institutions, such as science museums, planetariums, libraries, zoos, and more, are uniquely positioned to reach students, including those who are historically underrepresented and underserved in STEM fields.

TEAM II awards are funded through NASA’s Next Generation (Next Gen) STEM project, which focuses primarily on reaching K-12 and informal education to inspire the next generation of scientists, engineers, and astronauts. The STEM experiences funded by TEAM II directly align with NASA missions.

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement develops unique resources and experiences to spark student interest in STEM and build a skilled and diverse next generation workforce. For the latest NASA STEM events, activities, and news, visit: