NASA promotes STEM Education at CWU with hefty grants

NASA
Image credit: CWU

ELLENSBURG, Wash. — As part of an effort to expand STEM education in the Northwest United States, NASA will award $8.5 million to Central Washington University over the next four years for instructional programs.

According to an announcement from CWU on Tuesday morning, this grant is being delivered as part of the Northwest Earth and Space Science Pathway (NESSP) program. This initiative promotes educational programs geared toward NASA projects across Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana.

The ultimate goal of the NASA program is to inspire a new generation of scientists and pave a pathway to careers in STEM education for underrepresented communities.

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One of CWU’s Physics professors, Darci Snowden, is assuming a director role for this initiative to help the NESSP program advance its steady growth after six successful years.

“The point of this program is to use NASA science to engage and motivate rural and underrepresented students so that they stay interested in pursuing STEM careers in our region,” Snowden said. “NESSP is designed to provide pathways toward STEM education and STEM careers, but it’s also designed to build relationships communities so we can reach more students in the future.”

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More specifically, this grant is geared toward expanding the interest of Native American students in STEM education.

CWU will facilitate many of the individual programs using funds and resources allocated by the NASA grants. Some of those grants will also go toward programs that benefit students interested in STEM programs through week-long summer camps, national student challenges, and in-person learning opportunities for students of Central Washington.

“Being part of this program means more opportunities for K-12 students in the Northwest to engage directly with NASA science and engineering experts,” Snowden said. “We will also host more professional development opportunities for STEM teachers, including CWU alumni.”

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