Press Release

NASA Selects High-Performing Interns as First Student Ambassadors

By SpaceRef Editor
May 26, 2009
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NASA Selects High-Performing Interns as First Student Ambassadors
NASA Selects High-Performing Interns as First Student Ambassadors

NASA is taking further steps to engage undergraduate and graduate students in NASA science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, research and interactive opportunities. In one such effort, NASA has inducted more than 80 high-performing interns into the newly unveiled NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. This first group of students includes interns from 35 states and 64 different universities.

“As NASA prepares to develop and deploy a next generation of space vehicles, the agency requires greater depth of knowledge and pursuit of innovation than ever before,” said Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “To ensure success in meeting future exploration goals, NASA and the nation must adapt to the changing landscape and develop new strategies to cultivate its future workforce.”

NASA managers and mentors nominated the recipients from the hundreds of current interns and fellows across the agency. NASA provides internships that are among the most exciting research and education opportunities available to college students. This new online initiative further recognizes exceptional students.

Members of the NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community will interact with NASA, share information, make professional connections, collaborate with peers, represent NASA in a variety of venues, and help NASA inspire and engage future interns. Through the community’s Web site, participants will have access to tools needed to serve as a NASA Student Ambassador. The Web site provides the latest NASA news, blogs, and announcements; member profiles, forums, polls, and NASA contact information; and links to cutting-edge research and career

“The NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community will serve as an outreach vehicle to the nation’s students as well as a way to engage exceptional Gen-Y NASA students,” said Mabel Matthews, NASA’s Higher Education manager and lead for the community. “This innovative activity will be a leading effort to help NASA attract, engage, educate and employ the next generation.”

One of the many ways NASA is engaging these participants is through attendance at the upcoming space shuttle mission, STS-127, targeted for launch June 13 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA’s Office of Education has planned a pre-launch education forum titled “Strengthening the STEM Workforce: Strategies for Engaging Generation Y” and is inviting a number of Student Ambassadors to Florida to engage in discussions with leadership and other interns from NASA, industry and other federal agencies.

With this program and the agency’s other college and university programs, NASA will identify and develop the critical skills and capabilities needed to achieve its mission. This program is tied directly to the agency’s major education goal of strengthening NASA and the nation’s future workforce.

For more information about the NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community and to see an interactive map of the United States containing the names and schools of the 2009 Cohort I participants, visit:

For more information about education at NASA, visit:

For information about NASA and its programs, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.