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New Mexico State University gets NASA math and science education grant

New Mexico State University has been awarded funding from NASA for a project aimed at increasing minority enrollment in technology-related majors.


A grant will fund the Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy, said Susan W. Brown, a professional development coordinator in the university's College of Education and a co-director of the academy. The other director is Wanda Guzman, also a professional development coordinator in the College of Education.

NASA will provide $400,000 and 10 computerized work stations which the university will use to create summer and weekend workshops for students in public elementary, middle and high schools. The workshops will use an inquiry-based curriculum to motivate students to learn more about math, science, engineering and aerospace issues, Brown said.

The curriculum will include the use of computer work stations demonstrating remote sensing, aeronautics, a weather station, virtual reality, a global positioning system, aircraft design and wind tunnel testing. Students will work on projects in groups in a collaborative environment, she said.

All students will be welcome to participate in the academy. Las Cruces Public Schools and the Gadsden Independent School District have allocated funds for transporting students to the workshops, she said.

Dates for the workshops have not yet been set, she added.

Brown said the effort to obtain the grant was started by Elisa Sanchez of Engaging Latino Communities for Education (ENLACE) and Jeffrey Drake, a NASA engineer currently serving as an adjunct assistant professor of engineering at New Mexico State under the NASA Administrators Fellowship program. It grew into a collaborative effort of the colleges of Education, Engineering and Arts and Sciences and the school districts, she said.