Press Release

USRA Selected to Manage NASA’s Education Associates Program

By SpaceRef Editor
March 30, 2009
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NASA Ames Research Center (NASA Ames) has selected the Universities Space Research Association (USRA) to manage, enhance and expand the Education Associates Program (EAP). Operated under the auspices of NASA Ames Education and Public Outreach Branch, the EAP is an important workforce development and augmentation program for NASA and a significant element in NASA’s workforce development pipeline.

The EAP is designed to address a critical shortage of US students enrolled in and graduating from Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs and to give NASA a flexible workforce augmentation option by providing internships to talented university students and faculty engaged in STEM studies and education. By offering talented students and faculty members the opportunity to gain valuable “hands on” experience working side-by-side with NASA scientists and engineers, the EAP expands career horizons for those students and enables faculty to update technical knowledge and critical skills. Benefits provided to program participants are complemented by benefits that the EAP provides to NASA by giving the agency a flexible method for tapping pools of technical talent represented by students and faculty at universities, community colleges, etc, to meet workforce needs and enhance the workforce development pipeline.

Working under a 5 year cooperative agreement with NASA Ames, USRA will bring to bear not only its recognized expertise in managing successful education and workforce development programs, but also its deep reach into the university community and its demonstrated ability to expand and diversify program participation in managing and enhancing the EAP. Through its work with a variety of other, similar education and workforce development programs, USRA will also be able to establish important synergies between EAP and other programs (e.g. NASA’s Undergraduate Student Research Program) that will significantly strengthen the aerospace/space science workforce development pipeline.

“We are extremely proud to have been selected to be part of this very important program,” said Sheri Klug, USRA’s Project Administrator for the EAP, “We see this as a wonderful opportunity to enhance education and career options for both students and faculty across the broad higher education community while providing NASA centers across the nation with a flexible and responsive way to tap into the technical talent in that broad community. We look forward to serving higher education students and faculty as well as NASA program and project managers across the US through this program.”

“As an education and research focused association closely aligned with both NASA and the aerospace industry, USRA fully appreciates the critical role played by programs like the EAP,” stated USRA President and CEO, Dr. Frederick A. Tarantino. “We are very pleased that USRA’s experience with successful programs that provide opportunities for talented young people and enhance the nation’s technical workforce development pipeline will be put to such good use in support of the EAP.”

About USRA

The Universities Space Research Association, established in 1969 by the National Academy of Sciences, is a private, nonprofit consortium of 104 universities offering advanced degrees in space- and aeronautics-related disciplines. USRA’s mission is to conduct leading-edge research, develop innovative technologies, promote education and policy across the breadth of space science, and operate premier science and technology facilities by involving universities, private industry and government.

SpaceRef staff editor.