NASA awards $2.3 million worth of grants for this year’s fellowship

NASA has selected a number of universities, colleges, and other educational institutions to award grants for students whose studies involve aviation, planetary, and space research, which the space agency may find useful as it speeds towards returning to the moon, to reaching Mars and beyond.

Notably, NASA offers the said fellowship each year, which mainly seeks student-authored and independently conceived graduate research proposals responding to a NASA Research Opportunity listed in the solicitation, to which students may use the funding to conduct the study.

The NASA Fellowship Activity is designed to support NASA STEM Engagement objectives and to provide academic institutions the ability to enhance graduate-level learning and development.

In a September announcement, NASA has awarded fellowships to a total of 14 minority-serving institutions through its Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) and five majority institutions through its Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), which all in all amount to $2.3 million, and will be used to support graduate student research.

“The university projects funded by these fellowships represent the highest levels of the innovative breadth and depth of research and contribute directly to the nation’s aviation and space priorities, including America’s return to the Moon through the Artemis program,” NASA said in a statement.

The recipient institutions of MUREP fellowships are:

  • The University of California, Riverside
  • The University of Minnesota (two awards)
  • University of New Mexico
  • University of Texas, Arlington
  • University of California, Irvine
  • University of Maryland
  • University of Washington, Seattle
  • Montclair State University
  • Florida International University
  • New Mexico State University
  • University of Hawaii Systems
  • University of Houston System
  • San Diego State University Foundation

The recipient institutions of ARMD fellowships are:

  • University of Florida
  • Ohio State University
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Pennsylvania State University

NASA graduate fellowships provide funding for three years, but the space agency noted that the awards provide for the augmentation of each award with the possibility of a fourth-year extension based on an institution’s ability to expand on the previous years’ accomplishments.

In other words, there is a possibility that NASA will continue to fund fellows once their studies gave been deemed as vital in any future space exploration endeavor. In return, the can offer further opportunities to infuse new research into NASA’s work in the areas of science and aeronautics, and providing a timeline conducive to aiding the agency’s forward momentum with lunar missions.

Currently, the space agency’s lunar exploration plans are based on a multifaceted approach, first landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 and then establishing a sustained human presence on and around the Moon by 2028 as a way to prepare to send astronauts to Mars.

Artemis, which is NASA’s 2024 mission, will send the first woman and next man to the surface the Moon, which they hope will establish sustainable exploration with commercial and international partners by 2028. NASA’s Artemis program is the next step in human exploration and is a part of America’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach.

Receiving a NASA fellowship grant is a privilege and will help forward students’ future careers, especially those engaged in research and further studies. However, they are usually chosen from a large pool of interested students.

“NASA fellows must have a unique combination of technical know-how as well as scientific understanding. This legacy highlights how UW has been at the forefront of the technology and data-science revolution,” said Jessica Lundquist, a University of Washington professor of civil and environmental engineering who has advised five fellows from previous years

As of the moment, students applying to be part of NASA’s Fellowship Program requires students to submit a proposal, candidates must also be U.S. citizens or a naturalized citizen who hold a bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) field earned before fall semester of the academic year in order to be qualified.

Candidates must also be enrolled in a master’s or doctoral degree program before they make an announcement for the next batch of NASA fellows and intend to pursue a research-based masters or doctoral program in a NASA-relevant field.

NASA also aid that a potential second selection announcement for their fellowship activity is possible in mid-October.

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