Opportunities

Opportunities at MnSGC

The Minnesota Space Grant Consortium (MnSGC) offers a variety of NASA-related opportunities to college and university faculty and students attending MnSGC affiliate institutions. Some of these opportunities are also  available at other Minnesota colleges and universities. There is also additional programming for pre-college teachers and their students. Contact us for additional details.

All MnSGC affiliate institutions offer specific, NASA-themed opportunities for their students. Possibilities include taking courses with explicit NASA content, working with faculty on paid and volunteer NASA-related research, volunteering at NASA-themed outreach events, and volunteering on extra-curricular teams to build and fly aerospace hardware such as competition high-power rockets and stratospheric spacecraft on weather balloon flights.

To learn more, write to the MnSGC faculty contact at your school – click on your school’s icon at the bottom of the Home page, or else follow the affiliate links on the About page to find specific faculty contact information.

Scholarships

Scholarship support is open to U.S. citizens who are full-time undergraduate students attending MnSGC affiliate institutions and majoring in STEM fields and other areas of interest to NASA. Historically, the MnSGC has provided scholarship support to about 75 undergraduate students per year across all MnSGC affiliate institutions. To learn more, write to the MnSGC faculty contact at your school. Application instructions for University of Minnesota applicants are posted here.

Fellowships

Fellowship support for graduate students is open to U.S. citizen who are full-time graduate students at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Awardees are selected by MnSGC faculty advisers in the Department of Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics and the School of Physics and Astronomy. Historically, the MnSGC has provided fellowships to partially support two or three graduate students per year. Contact us to learn which faculty advisers and research projects are involved.

Internships

NASA Center Internship support is available to students attending any Minnesota higher education institutions who are selected by NASA Center research mentors for summer internships. To apply for NASA summer internships  go to the NASA Center Internship website. The application deadline is typically early March, but it is best to apply as early as possible,

For students who are selected, the NASA Centers will consult with the Minnesota Space Grant Consortium about the availability of support. Historically, the MnSGC has funded 5 or 6 students annually doing summer internships at NASA Centers.

Annual Grants to MnSGC Affiliates

Grant support is available for NASA-related programming, mostly in higher education contexts. Annual proposals may be submitted (typically in February) by faculty contacts at MnSGC affiliate institutions. Faculty at non-MnSGC-affiliate higher education institutions may contact us to inquire about ongoing MnsGC affiliate programming, to seek collaboration opportunities.

Mini-Grants for Non-Affiliates

Mini-grant funding, not to exceed $5K per project, can sometimes be considered from proposers outside the MnSGC, especially for initiatives that are not already being provided by MnSGC affiliate institutions and are also well-aligned with Space Grant’s goals — especially our goal of engaging more underrepresented minority students and female students in Minnesota (typically at the college and university level, though ideas for engagement of pre-college students may be considered) in NASA-related activities. Contact us if you have an idea for a project.

Important Note:
Matching Funds Requirement

All MnSGC awards must be matched at least 1-to-1 by non-federal funds, typically provided by or raised by the requesting institutions. Real additional dollars are preferred for match, but in-kind value (such as unpaid faculty and teacher effort) will be considered. The required match is one way the MnSGC makes NASA funds go further.

Professional Development Teacher Workshops

Sphero RobotWe offer occasional professional development workshops for higher education faculty, in-service teachers, and pre-service teachers on NASA topics. Past workshop topics have included stratospheric ballooning (i.e. building light-weight, low-cost payloads to fly into the stratosphere — a space-like environment — on weather balloon missions to do experiments there), high-power rocketry (i.e. the adult follow-on to model rocketry for kids), microcontroller programming (especially programming Arduino microcontrollers and sensor suites for use on stratospheric ballooning payloads, high-power rocket flights, and robots), exploration of Mars (especially studying data from Mars rovers and landers and orbital assets), basic aerospace lessons for K-12, and more. Contact us to inquire about upcoming educator workshops.

Pre-College
Classroom Activities

The MnSGC can sometimes arrange for higher education faculty or students to go to pre-college schools for classroom visits, assemblies, exhibits at family events, demonstrations, and other activities. Potential topics include “Hovercraft Astronauts” (with rideable hovercraft), model rocketry, presentations about astronomy (including NASA space telescopes and probes, and how they have revolutionized our understanding of the universe), and more. Contact us to inquire about possible options for your school.

High-Power Rocketry

Macalaster College Rocket LaunchThe MnSGC runs an annual Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition for college student teams from around the nation. Read more at “Return to Flight: Fleet Challenge” about the 2021-2022 competition. The MnSGC sometimes offers remote video lessons on high-power rocketry to help Minnesota college student teams get started. Contact us to inquire about getting involved.

Stratospheric Spacecraft

Build a Balloon-Borne Stratospheric Spacecraft (BABBSS) is a MnSGC initiative in which faculty, teams of college students, and pre-college educators (plus their students) can get some hands-on experience with spacecraft hardware and flight by building a miniature, “near-space” payload for a MnSGC stratospheric ballooning team to loft into the stratosphere on a weather balloon mission above 80,000 feet. Contact us to inquire about getting involved.