NASA PROGRAM OFFERS REAL-WORLD RESEARCH OPPORTUNITES FOR STUDENTS

NASA PROGRAM OFFERS REAL-WORLD RESEARCH OPPORTUNITES FOR STUDENTS

Sonja Alexander, Daniel Dowds

This summer, 200 high school students get to put their

classroom studies to the test and get their hands on some

real-world science research.

NASA and the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network

selected the students as participants in the 2001 NASA Summer

High School Apprenticeship Research Program, known as SHARP

PLUS.

Selected from more than 700 applicants, this year’s

apprentices represent 153 high schools in 32 states, the

District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin

Islands.

The SHARP PLUS Program is a major strategy for increasing,

strengthening, and diversifying the country’s future pool of

mathematics, science, engineering and technology majors and

professionals.

Although SHARP PLUS apprentices have excelled in mathematics

and science courses, most students have not had the

opportunity to apply this knowledge in a true research

environment. To provide this experience, the Program links

students to professional research scientists and engineers in

university and industry settings.

“SHARP PLUS creates an opportunity for students to work with

professional researchers and gain hands-on experience in

mathematics, science, engineering and technology,” said

Deborah Glasco, Program Manager, NASA’s Education Division,

NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. “If we seek to make a

contribution to the rapidly changing laboratories of

tomorrow, we must support science initiatives that introduce

and excite our youth today.”

The students participate in hands-on research projects under

the guidance of professional mentors and gain a better

understanding of the discipline, responsibility and enjoyment

associated with scientific research.

Apprentices prepare papers on their research and formally

present their findings at the conclusion of the Program. This

Summer, from June 11 to Aug. 3, SHARP PLUS apprentices will

reside on the campuses of 10 universities that have joined in

partnership with NASA and QEM to implement the Program.

In addition to research, the apprentices participate in a

wide variety of enrichment activities organized by the host

universities. These activities range from information

sessions on math, science and engineering careers, to test-

taking and computer skills workshops, to an overview of

college admissions and financial aid procedures.

Universities that will host the 2001 NASA SHARP PLUS students

are:

* California State University, Los Angeles

* Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

* Hampton University, Hampton, VA

* Jackson State University, Jackson, MS

* North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC

* University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI

* University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM

* Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN

* Texas A&M University, College Station, TX

* University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

“SHARP PLUS sets high expectations for academic achievement

and seeks to increase the participation and success rate of

talented students from groups underrepresented in challenging

mathematics and science courses at the pre-college level,”

said Shirley McBay, President, QEM Network, and SHARP PLUS

Program Director.

The NASA SHARP PLUS Program is managed for NASA’s Education

Division by QEM Network, Washington, DC. QEM is a non-profit

organization dedicated to improving the education of

minorities and other underrepresented groups.

For more information and a complete list of students selected

for the program, visit:

http://qemnetwork.qem.org/sharpplus.html

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