Press Release

NASA Awards Grants to Minority Serving Institutions to Improve Participation in Engineering

By SpaceRef Editor
August 24, 2020
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NASA has awarded 14 planning grants to Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) through its Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP), part of the agency’s Office of STEM Engagement. The grants, totaling more than $587,000, are part of a phased partnership effort with the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The grants will encourage the development of coalitions aimed at broadening participation in engineering, in alignment with the goals of the NSF Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science (INCLUDES) initiative.

“Efforts with Minority Serving Institutions to broaden student participation exemplify the work of the federal coordination in STEM community and highlight the direct benefit to students when agencies work together,” said Mike Kincaid, NASA associate administrator for STEM Engagement. “We look forward to see the results of this partnership.”

“NSF is thrilled to welcome MUREP’s planning grant awardees to the NSF INCLUDES National Network of partners,” said Karen Marrongelle, assistant director of NSF’s Directorate for Education and Human Resources. “We value NASA’s support for the vision of the NSF INCLUDES initiative, as we work collaboratively for inclusive change to the STEM workforce, and we look forward to the outcomes of the catalytic work that will be conducted through these planning grants.”

Continuing to invest in MSIs is an ongoing priority for MUREP. Through these planning grant awards, the lead MSIs have developed coalitions with a variety of partners, including other MSIs, non-MSIs, industry, non-profit organizations and other non-governmental organizations.

The recipient institutions, and their proposed projects, are:

California State University, Northridge
Growing Engineering Engagement in Underserved and Underrepresented Populations

This project will form a network to promote the interagency collaboration that delivers the STEM knowledge to the next generation of underserved/underrepresented children.

California State University, San Bernardino

Partnerships for Recruitment, Retention, Research and Mentoring for Engineering

This project, consisting of a unique collaboration of MSIs and the Community College Association of Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Directors (CCAMD), will broaden participation in engineering.

Florida A&M University
NASA MUREP-NSF INCLUDES Fueling Opportunities for Successful Engineering Retention of Non-Traditional STEM (FOSTER-NTS) Majors into PhD Programs at the FAMU-FSU College of Engineering

The goal of this planning grant is to generate an Opportunity Response Team, comprised of Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University-Florida State University College of Engineering faculty and graduate students, along with faculty from three Historically Black Colleges and Universities, to develop a FOSTER-NTS program for non-engineering STEM underrepresented minority students who want to obtain PhDs in engineering.

Navajo Technical College
NASA – Navajo Nation Ne-tdale Ak’is: Expanding Partnerships

The outcome of this planning grant will be a concept paper detailing strategies and best practices to enable the first TCU-led submission of a multi-institutional NSF INCLUDES proposal to implement findings from this award.

Navajo Technical College
Integration of Earth and Space Science initiatives in Engineering Curriculum and community engagement at Navajo Technical University

During the coming four months, the partnership will work to assess the possibility of introducing astronomy, physics, and environmental engineering courses in the Engineering programs, as well as assessing the possibility to reuse the observatory at the NTU campus, which is not functioning at this time, to make it available for NTU students, K-12 students and the local community.

New Mexico State University, Las Cruces
Coalition for Growing a Diverse Workforce to Develop and Commercialize the Next Generation of Space-Based Technologies

The proposed program has two top-level objectives – to increase the participation and role of MSIs in space-related research, and to increase the number and diversity of STEM graduates that are well prepared to contribute to the space industry. The coalition will achieve these objectives by implementing a set of scalable strategies.

North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro
iCASE: Inclusive Consortium of Autonomous Systems Engineers

iCASE will be a diverse, comprehensive consortium focused on exposing, encouraging, educating, engaging, and employing the underrepresented minority engineering community.

Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
STEM^3 in South-East Louisiana

STEM^3 plans to help develop a strong technical workforce in the targeted region with a concentration in advanced additive manufacturing technologies.

Texas A&M University, Kingsville
Parallel Pathways of Excellence to Engage Minority Students in Aerospace Engineering

The objectives of this planning project are to create a concept paper for broadening participation in aerospace engineering via a coalition of MSIs, high schools, private sector, libraries, nonprofit, state and governmental organizations, as well as to create a comprehensive action plan with detailed intervention activities, by testing and assessing the impacts of various approaches during this planning stage.

University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff
Developing a Community of Space Scientists

The proposed objectives of this project are to develop plans to engage Arkansas’ aerospace community and educational stakeholders in NASA-relevant activities to lay the foundation for faculty, students, and community participation through shared goals and objectives; and to identify activities that will increase the capacity of UAPB’s Industrial Technology Management and Applied Engineering program to plan, collaborate and share NASA research with faculty, students, stakeholders, and the community.

University of Hawaii, Honolulu
Planning and Development for a Sustainable STEM-Outreach Program: Hawai‘i’s Aspiring Engineers Academy

The proposed project aims to develop a strategic plan for an academy designed to provide engineering opportunities for Hawaii’s underrepresented and underserved demographic.

University of Massachusetts, Boston
Partners Aligned To Heighten broad participation in STEM (PATHS)

PATHS will build upon established partnerships with Bunker Hill Community College and Boston Public Schools and add a network of supportive organizations, individual NASA-supported scientists and engineers, and local industry leaders to provide opportunities support for pursuing NASA-related careers.

University of Texas, El Paso
Coalition for Inspiration, Education and Research in Electrical and Computer Engineering at Hispanic Serving Institutions (ECE@HSI)

The goal of this planning grant is to complete initiation and planning phases for ECE@HSI, with the overarching goal of supporting broadening participation in electrical and computer engineering.

University of Texas, San Antonio
City-based Integrated Engineering Training Alliance to Engage, Educate and Empower the Next Generation STEM Workforce

Targeting underrepresented student groups, the City-based Integrated Engineering Training Alliance to Engage, Educate, and Transform the Next Generation STEM Workforce will engage industry, government and educational stakeholders to collaboratively establish a tiered educational model for intentionally broadening participation in interdisciplinary aeronautics engineering.


NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project supports the training and development of students and faculty at MSIs in STEM fields by providing opportunities for research and education that inspires and prepares minority students for STEM careers.

An integral part of this mission, NASA MUREP INCLUDES was established to strengthen and develop the research capacity and infrastructure of minority-serving institutions in areas of strategic importance and value to NASA’s mission and national priorities.

For more information about MUREP, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.