NASA signed a memorandum of understanding this week with the National Science Foundation (NSF) “to collaborate on an initiative to open new avenues to engineering careers for communities underserved and underrepresented in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and math].” The collaboration will tap Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) in recruiting and educating the engineers it cites as “essential to America’s goals to send humans back to the Moon and, eventually, on to Mars.”
The effort is named “Building MSI-led Coalitions to Strengthen Broadening Participation in Engineering.” With a specific focus on diversifying engineering ranks, the two agencies will work together to develop activities that engage potential engineering students and also create funding opportunities for institutions and organizations to build coalitions.
“The goal with this new agreement is to leverage NASA and NSF programs to build coalitions of public and private organizations who use evidence-based concepts for broadening participation of underrepresented groups in engineering,” said Karen Marrongelle, NSF assistant director for education and human resources.
Mike Kincaid, NASA associate administrator for STEM engagement, said, “NASA and NSF have benefited from a partnership spanning decades that advances space and science research. Working together, our agencies can further strengthen a diverse STEM workforce that will achieve missions beyond our imaginations.”