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Fall/Winter 2011-2012

NASA/MESA Build Ties

Girl at NASA event

NASA and MESA are forging closer partnerships throughout the state as the space agency increases its involvement in education.

“We think MESA is a great program,” said Russ Billings, pre-college programs manager for the Aerospace, Education, Research and Operations Institute. The institute implements NASA’s education programs for Dryden and Ames Research Centers. “We believe we can use the success we’ve had with MESA in Imperial Valley as a model for us to move forward to additional MESA sites,” he said.

Two of the largest collaborations are part of NASA’s Summer of Innovation (SoI) project to improve science, technology, engineering and math education for middle school students. NASA SoI sponsored a two-week aeronautics summer program for 225 Imperial Valley MESA center students, which included a trip to the Dryden Flight Research Center. (See story, page 7)

Another SoI partnership, with the NASA Ames Research Center, has resulted in MESA’s Resources for Indian Student Education (RISE) center acquiring Starlab, a portable planetarium. Starlab will be used in a project that focuses on Native American approaches to learning astronomy.

NASA internships were garnered by MESA college students throughout the state this summer. Christopher Halcon from Hartnell College earned the NASA Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology (MUST) Scholarship, including a $10,000 award and a paid summer internship. Los Medanos College students Mario Shaun Regacho, Angelique Sims, Brian Delgadillo and Chris Sanchez were selected to participate in NASA’s Microgravity University in Houston. Luis Bill, a San Francisco State University student, worked on an internship with NASA’s Intelligent Robotics Group—his third NASA internship. (See story, page 2)

A NASA panel was featured in last summer’s Student Leadership Retreat, an event for MESA community college students to explore math and science careers.


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