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NSF, NASA announce commitments to support White House strategic plan on STEM education

NSF expands its signature STEM diversity program to other federal agencies and creates new graduate internship opportunities as well as data science training


The National Science Foundation (NSF) is partnering with other federal agencies in support of NSF INCLUDES National Network, a program dedicated to making a lasting impact on diversifying the STEM workforce of the future. Partners include the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS).

These partnerships are announced as the White House released its five-year strategic plan for STEM education, Charting a Course for Success: A Federal Strategy for STEM Education. The plan lays out the federal government’s role in furthering STEM education by working with state and local stakeholders, the education community and American employers. Its goals include building a STEM-competent citizenry, creating a STEM-ready workforce and removing barriers to STEM careers, especially for women and underrepresented groups.

NSF INCLUDES seeks to enhance U.S. STEM leadership through nationwide networks focused on solutions to broadening participation in the sciences. The initiative, launched in FY 2016 and named as one of the foundation’s 10 Big Ideas for Future NSF Investment, addresses the new White House report’s goals of maintaining the country’s innovation capacity by increasing diversity and inclusion through broader access to STEM.

“There are populations in the United States who are missing from the STEM ecosystem,” said NSF Director France Córdova. “The nation will be stronger when these people are given access to STEM education and encouraged to become innovators. Our STEM enterprise will never reach its full potential until that happens. I’m proud to be part of this effort. We will find new ways to inspire all our nation’s young people, support them and encourage more of them to pursue amazing careers in STEM.”

“STEM education is vital to everything we do at NASA. In recognition of this, I am proud to announce a new permanent STEM committee that will provide guidance to the NASA Advisory Council on how NASA can promote STEM-learning initiatives, ” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “We are committed to - and dependent upon - inspiring future generations of STEM leaders who will bring diversity of thought and perspective to NASA. Current and future STEM students will take us to the Moon, Mars, and beyond as we continue to explore our universe.”

In support of the White House strategy, NSF is also announcing a $10 million commitment to its newly launched Data Science Corps, which will provide basic training in data science to existing workforces at the local, state and national levels, teaching new skills and offering new experiences.

NSF also expects to fund 200 internships of up to $55,000 for graduate students in fiscal years 2019 and 2020. The NSF INTERN program provides opportunities for graduate students currently supported by other NSF awards to gain experiences in industry and other non-academic settings, preparing them for their careers.

NASA is pleased to announce a new collaboration in support of the NSF INCLUDES network. Over the coming months, NASA will work with the NSF INCLUDES community to better understand how NASA’s unique assets can support the partners in the NSF INCLUDES network as they seek to broaden participation in STEM careers. In recognition of the importance of STEM education to the NASA community, the NASA Advisory Council Ad Hoc Task Force on STEM education will be elevated to the status of a permanent, standing committee. While the Ad Hoc Task Force has supported NASA’s STEM education efforts for many years, this move ensures that the STEM education community has a voice on the NASA Advisory Council for years to come.

To learn more about NSF INCLUDES, visit NSF’s 10 Big Ideas Special Report.

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The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. In fiscal year (FY) 2018, its budget is $7.8 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and other institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 50,000 competitive proposals for funding and makes about 12,000 new funding awards.

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