NASA has selected proposals from informal education institutions in 10 states to further its goal of attracting more students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
They will share approximately $7.7 million in grants through NASA’s Competitive Program for Science Museums, Planetariums and NASA Visitor Centers Plus Other Opportunities.
The organizations are located across the United States and include six museums and four NASA visitor centers. They will create interactive exhibits, virtual worlds, professional development activities, and community-based programs to engage students, teachers and the public in STEM. The selected projects have performance periods from one to five years and range in value from approximately $500,000 to $1 million. Final funding is contingent upon NASA’s approval of each organization’s final business plan.
“Informal education providers play a key role in NASA Education’s effort to make interactive STEM experiences available to students and the general public,” said Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for education in Washington. “Using compelling NASA content, they create fun, hands-on learning activities that help us stimulate greater interest in STEM. Increasing STEM literacy in students today is crucial to having the talent NASA will require for future missions of science and discovery.”
The 2013 selected organizations are:
— U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville, Ala.
— AERO Institute, Palmdale, Calif.
— Miami Science Museum
— Children’s Museum of Indianapolis
— Science Museum of Minnesota, St. Paul
— St. Louis Science Center
— Science South Inc., Florence, S.C.
— Space Center Houston Project
— Virginia Air and Space Center, Hampton, Va.
— Pacific Science Center Foundation, Seattle
Projects selected in this year’s program will produce NASA-inspired educational opportunities to increase awareness of and engagement in the agency’s space exploration achievements and how these benefit life on Earth, as well as educational pathways to careers in space exploration and other STEM fields. Students of all ages and educators who deliver formal or informal STEM education will learn about NASA’s missions in human space exploration, aeronautics, astronomy, robotics, Mars exploration, and remote sensing.
The selected organizations will collaborate with NASA’s Museum Alliance, a nationwide network of informal education professionals at 575 science museums, planetariums, NASA visitor centers, Challenger Centers, visitor centers at observatories and parks, nature centers, aquariums and zoos. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the Museum Alliance for the agency.
Sixty-seven proposals from institutions in 31 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, underwent a merit-based peer review process. NASA’s Office of Education, agency mission directorates and support offices, and JPL solicited and reviewed the grant applications.