The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) is proud to announce outstanding 2008 results for the NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP). The USRP, which is open to engineering and science undergraduates, is NASA’s largest agency-wide internship program and its flagship undergraduate program. The program operates year-round – with 15-week spring and fall internships and 10-week summer internships – and currently places undergraduates at 12 NASA centers and research facilities. Critically positioned in NASA’s STEM workforce development pipeline, the USRP is regarded as a key to ensuring a high-quality technical workforce for the future.

Under a Cooperative Agreement with NASA, USRA assumed responsibility for administering this key technical workforce development program in late 2007 and has, in its first year with the program, achieved notable successes that include important enhancements to program operations and significant improvements in program performance. Among USRA’s accomplishments are:

— Implementation of an advanced, web-based system streamlining the intern application and selection processes and allowing for sophisticated tracking and reporting by and for both interns and mentors

— Use of enhanced program marketing and recruiting strategies that resulted in an over 200% increase in the number of student applicants overall

— Focus on applicant quality that has resulted in an applicant pool with an average GPA of over 3.6

— Focus on program diversity that has resulted in an applicant pool with 34% minority and 31% female applicants

— Efforts to broaden the program base resulting in a pool of participants representing over 200 educational institutions in 43 states and Puerto Rico

— Focus on improving customer satisfaction that has resulted in a measured increase in satisfaction with the program among both participating students and mentors.

Underlining these program successes in a letter to USRA, Robert Musgrove, Deputy Director of the Education Office at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, noted USRA’s outstanding performance in administering the USRP and the high level of customer service provided. Musgrove wrote that USRA’s staff “has demonstrated remarkable leadership, technical expertise, teamwork, and communication skills,” and added, “I am pleased with the excellent project management techniques and superb customer service USRA delivers to both NASA and the student interns in all of their activities.”

“We are extremely proud to be part of this very important program and pleased about the progress that USRP has made over the past year,” said Sheri Klug, USRA’s Project Administrator for USRP. “We look forward to continuing to serve both NASA and undergraduates across the U.S. through this program.”

About USRA

The Universities Space Research Association, established in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences, is a private, nonprofit consortium of 102 universities offering advanced degrees in space- and aeronautics-related disciplines. USRA’s mission is to conduct leading-edge research, develop innovative technologies, promote education and policy across the breadth of space science, and operate premier science and technology facilities by involving universities, private industry and government.