Learn About the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium
In continuation of UHart's recognition of World Space Week (Oct. 4-10), Brian M. Wells, Associate Professor of Physics, discusses the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium in his role as campus director.
What is the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium?
NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) is a federally mandated grant, internship, and scholarship program that is funded as a part of NASA Education. There are Space Grant Consortia in all 50 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. NASA CTSGC, in an effort to encourage broader participation in NASA research programs, was formed in 1991 by the following post-secondary education institutions: Trinity College, the University of Connecticut, and the University of New Haven with the University of Hartford as the lead institution. You can learn more on our website.
The CTSGC Purpose:
• Inspire the pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), especially within groups who have traditionally been underrepresented within the STEM disciplines
• Be the model for STEM-based professional development.
• Contribute to the development of Connecticut’s economy and STEM pipeline
• Provide an environment in which all stakeholders understand and contribute to the Consortium’s mission.
The CTSGC Mission
The mission of the NASA CTSGC is to further the efforts started through NASA’s Education Strategic Framework, Lines of Business, and the National Space Grant Program Goals and Objectives. Specifically, NASA CTSGC has three major goals:
1. To establish and promote NASA-related research opportunities that draw on the collaborative strength of private, academic, and government sectors
2. To support education initiatives that will inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
3. To promote workforce development that recognizes the current and future needs of the Connecticut economy.
The CT Space Grant Consortium is led by Program Director Mary “Cater” Arico, Assistant Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Biomedical Engineering. Yingcui Li, Associate Professor of Biology is the Assistant Director. Janet Spatcher, Program Manager, and April Michaud, Program Coordinator, are located in the CT Space Grant office in Dana 203.
Who should apply to participate?
Students and faculty from any of our 22 academic affiliates are invited to apply for scholarship, internship, project, and research opportunities twice annually – spring and fall. We also provide funding to K-12 and informal education partners on a rolling basis.
What can students gain from this opportunity?
Students who receive CTSGC funding have an opportunity for an authentic and hands-on experience in the classroom, in the lab, in the workplace, and beyond. The potential for STEM engagement provided through CTSGC funding is as limitless as the imagination through research projects, fellowships, scholarships, internships, and more. We also offer the opportunity to be part of workshops such as the national RockOn! program, or our statewide Community College Quadcopter Challenge. In 2023 and 2024 CT students and faculty will have an opportunity to take part in the National Eclipse Ballooning Project, which is a national effort coordinated by the Montana Space Grant Consortium.
What projects or areas of study have past years included?
We provide funding for any projects that are applicable to NASA. The areas of study can be broad, and in the past have included history, accounting, graphic design, website design, computer science, physical therapy, mechanical engineering, astronomy, acoustical engineering, radio astronomy, optics, and more. If there is applicability to aerospace or aeronautics, or the management of business, CTSGC has potentially funded a student in one of these areas.
What other colleges participate?
11 community colleges and 11 4-year colleges and universities statewide make up the consortium for our state.
What makes UHart unique?
We are the lead institution for the program statewide and help administer the grant to all 22 affiliates in addition to other k-12 and informal education partners.
Or any other tie-ins to UHart specifically in relation to this program.
The University of Hartford has offered the RockOn! Workshop to students. This hands-on workshop teaches students to create a sounding rocket experiment from scratch and brings teams together at Wallops Flight Facility to view the launch of the sounding rockets following the completion of the workshop program. RockOn! provides workshop participants valuable skills and the opportunity to visit Wallops and experience the excitement of being part of the launch team.
The fall call for applications is currently open. Apply by Oct. 13.