Opportunities

The MN Space Grant offers a variety of NASA-related opportunities to college/university faculty and students attending MnSGC affiliate institutions, plus some programming for pre-college teachers (and their students). Use the “CONTACT US” page to inquire about additional details.

  • All MnSGC affiliate institutions (see full list on “HOME” and “ABOUT” pages of this website) offer specific NASA-themed opportunities for their students. Possibilities include taking courses with explicit NASA content, working with faculty on NASA-related research (sometimes paid; sometimes volunteer), volunteering at NASA-themed outreach events, and/or volunteering on extra-curricular teams to build and fly aerospace hardware such as competition high-power rockets and stratospheric “spacecraft” (AKA payloads) 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.
  • Scholarship support for undergraduate students (limited to full-time US citizen undergraduate students attending MnSGC affiliate institutions and majoring in areas of interest to NASA – mostly STEM fields). Historically the MnSGC has provided scholarship support to about 75 undergraduate students (across all MnSGC affiliate institutions) per year. To learn more, write to the MnSGC faculty contact at your school. As part of the application process you will be asked to complete a MnSGC Student Information Form. (MS Word version, PDF version). (Note: The U of MN – Twin Cities (UMTC) undergraduate scholarship application deadline for spring 2019 scholarships is January 28, 2019. Application instructions for UMTC applicants are posted here.)
  • Fellowship support for graduate students (limited to full-time US citizen graduate students at the UMTC selected by MnSGC faculty advisers in the Aerospace Engineering (AEM) Department and the School of Physics and Astronomy (SPA)). Historically the MnSGC has provided fellowships to partially-support 2 or 3 graduate students in AEM-plus-SPA per year. Use the “CONTACT US” page to learn which faculty advisers and research projects are involved.
  • NASA Center Internship support for students attending MN higher education institutions (not limited to MnSGC affiliate institutions) who are selected by NASA Center research mentors for summer internships. To apply for NASA summer 2019 internships (between 10/18/2018 and 4/1/2019 – it is best to apply as early as possible), go to https://intern.nasa.gov/. For students who are selected, the NASA Centers (not the students directly) will inquire with the MN Space Grant about the availability of support. Historically the MnSGC has funded 6 to 8 students annually doing summer internships at NASA Centers.
  • Grant support for NASA-related programming (mostly in higher education contexts). Annual proposals may be submitted (typically in February) by faculty contacts at MnSGC member institutions (AKA MnSGC affiliate institutions). Faculty at non-MnSGC-affiliate higher education institutions may use the “CONTACT US” page to inquire about ongoing MnsGC affiliate programming, to seek collaboration opportunities.
  • “Mini-grant” funding (not to exceed $5K per project) can sometimes be considered from proposers outside the MnSGC for initiatives that are not already being provided by MnSGC affiliate institutions and are well-aligned with Space Grant’s goals – especially our goal of engaging more underrepresented students and women students (in Minnesota) in NASA-related activities. (Note: Doing basic research at the college/university level, even on topics well-aligned with NASA, is already oversubscribed at MnSGC affiliate institutions so will not be considered for mini-grant funding.) Use the “CONTACT US” link to start a discussion, if you have an idea for the project that you think the MnSGC might be interested in helping fund. Important note: 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/teacher effort) will be considered. Required match is one way the MnSGC makes NASA funds go farther.
  • We offer occasional professional development workshops for higher education faculty, in-service teachers, and/or pre-service teachers on NASA topics. Past workshop topics have included stratospheric ballooning (i.e. building low-cost science payloads to fly into the stratosphere – a space-like environment – on weather balloon missions), high-power rocketry (i.e. the adult follow-on to model rocketry for kids), microcontroller programming (especially programming Arduino microcontroller/sensor suites for use on stratospheric ballooning payloads, high-power rocket flights, and robots), Exploration of Mars (especially studying data from Mars rovers/landers and orbital assets), basic aerospace lessons for K-12, and more. Use the “CONTACT US” page to inquire about upcoming educator workshops.
  • The MnSGC can sometimes arrange visits to pre-college schools for classroom visits, assemblies, exhibits, demonstrations, and/or 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. Use the “Contact Us” page to inquire about possible options for your school.
  • High-power rocketry (limited to college students and adults). The MnSGC runs an annual Space Grant Midwest High-Power Rocket Competition for college student teams from around the nation. Read more at http://www.aem.umn.edu/msgc/Space_Grant_Midwest_Rocketry_Competition_2018_2019/ The MnSGC has also offered video-lessons on high-power rocketry to help Minnesota college student teams get started. Use the “CONTACT US” page to inquire about getting involved.
  • Build a Balloon-Borne Stratospheric Spacecraft (BABBSS) is a MnSGC initiative in which faculty, teams of college students, and/or pre-college educators (with their students) can get some hands-on experience with spacecraft hardware and flight by building a miniature “near-space” payload for the MnSGC Stratospheric Ballooning Team at the UMTC to carry into the stratosphere (above 80,000 feet!) on a weather balloon mission. Use the “CONTACT US” page to inquire about getting involved.