Press Release

Sharp Program Inspires Students to Pursue Space-Related Careers

By SpaceRef Editor
June 23, 2004
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NASA’s eight-week Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP), designed to encourage the career paths of pre-college students who are traditionally under-represented, continues to contribute to Kennedy Space Center’s workforce of the future.

Twenty-one students from counties surrounding KSC arrived on June 7 to take part in the outstanding learning opportunity offered through SHARP. They will present their summer research projects at a public event on July 30 at the KSC Visitor Complex.

SHARP is designed for students who have demonstrated an aptitude and strong interest in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and geography. Participants often include females, African-Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, Pacific Islanders and the disabled.

Since 1980, nearly 5,700 brilliant high school students have participated in the program. Statistics indicate that 90 percent of SHARP students complete college, and many who take part in the program launch successful careers in space-related fields.

Melissa Jones, a United Space Alliance communications engineer at KSC participated in the program in 1998. She credits SHARP with her decision to pursue a career in her field.

“SHARP introduced me to technology in a way that changed my perspective on engineering,” said Jones. “Without SHARP, I would have never considered engineering.”

Each summer, approximately 400 students are selected to participate in SHARP at NASA Centers across the nation. Some of NASA’s top science professionals, while conducting cutting-edge research and working on state-of-the-art equipment, mentor qualified students who earn a salary for their services.

Media interested in more information or attending the SHARP program presentations may contact Tracy Young at 321/867-2468 or by e-mail at

For information about NASA Education programs on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA Education programs at KSC on the Internet, visit:

For information about NASA SHARP on the Internet, visit:

SpaceRef staff editor.