To inspire future generations of underrepresented youth to further investigate how our universe and its life formed.
To share the story, the science, and the adventure of NASA’s scientific explorations of our home planet, the solar system, and the universe beyond, through stimulating and informative activities and experiences created by experts, and delivered effectively and efficiently to learners of many backgrounds via proven conduits, thus providing a return on the public’s investment in NASA’s scientific research.
- Engage precollege students in Science Mission Directorate (SMD) content and attract them to STEM disciplines.
- Expose precollege students to NASA SMD content in direct relation to SMD’s “Vision for Educational and Public Outreach.”
- Provide leadership and mentoring opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in STEM, thus strengthening NASA’s and the nation’s future workforce.
- Add to and compliment STEM-based education that students already receive at school.
- Expand nationwide.
The program guides university chapters from around the country to recreate NASA Space Science Days using the UTB NSSD event as a model.
NASA science themes vary yearly and reflect current NASA robotic science missions. Potential NSSD hosts submit an application to NSSD staff detailing their interest and capability for carrying out the event.
Using Science Mission Directorate (SMD) Content to Empower Underrepresented Minority Students, is a three-year, multi-tiered program that includes components for pre-college students, undergraduate students, and teachers. It is an expansion of an existing, successful NASA Space Science Days program that Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES), The Houston Museum of Natural Sciences, The NASA-Johnson Space Center, Passport to Knowledge, Rice University, The University of Houston Downtown (UHD) and The University of Texas at Brownsville (UTB) have been conducting since 2004. The NSSD event utilizes SMD and other space related hands-on activities at a one-day event with over 700 5th – 8th graders from various Rio Grande Valley schools participating in 10 different science related hands on activities throughout the day. Fifth and eighth graders are targeted because they are at a very malleable stage in life, when their career choices can be influenced by participation in these hands-on Science Technology Engineering and Math activities (STEM).
UTB undergraduate and graduate students attended training in space science workshops and activities at the NASA Johnson Space Center every year before this event in order to organize and train other UTB students to be the presenters at NSSD. Teachers are invited to UTB during the summer and school year to be trained on these activities to continue to use them in their classrooms throughout the academic year. The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) participated in the 2009 NSSD event for the first time, which sparked discussions of adding SHPE as a partner, in order to increase the scale and scope of impact, replicate the program throughout the country, and expands the program’s reach.