ECSU receives NASA Grant to establish community focused Aerospace Academy

Elizabeth City State University (ECSU) was selected as one of nine universities to create and operate an Aerospace Academy under NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP).

“ECSU’s MUREP Aerospace Academy (MAA) project will promote STEM literacy, prepare and encourage students, especially underserved and underrepresented populations from northeastern North Carolina, to pursue college degrees,” said ECSU Chancellor Stacey Franklin Jones. “This community focused project provides an additional avenue and further strengthens our commitment to serve the region. We look forward to working with NASA on this important project.”

“ECSU’s Aerospace Academy project will receive $347,384 for a project period of three years,” said Dr. Kuldeep Rawat, Director of the Aviation Science Program and Principal Investigator on the grant. “The academy will provide access to NASA technology through an Aerospace Education Laboratory (AEL), and encourage families and communities to get involved through the Family Café, an interactive forum with activities, workshops and guest speakers.”

ECSU will collaborate with an existing NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy (SEMAA) site at Warren County High School to conduct a comprehensive outreach program for all levels of education in the northeastern North Carolina region. The project anticipates reaching 625 – 1000 students per year.

The ECSU project will adopt the NASA SEMAA curriculum and integrate 3D printing technology, Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) design, and sensor-based measurement systems to enhance authentic and experiential learning experiences. ECSU’s MAA project will take the AEL to the school districts using the Roadshow-In-A-Box approach. The mobile AEL will be equipped with a state-of-the-art desktop flight simulator; aircraft design station, desktop wind tunnel, weather station, GPS and radio receiver, 3D printers, mini quadcopter UAVs, mobile robots, and a set of hands-on learning aerospace-themed STEM experiments. “The mobile AEL will provide significant strength to our project implementation given the characteristics of the population/region we serve,” said Rawat.

Professional development opportunities for administrators, educators, counselors, teachers, pre-college outreach coordinators, parents, and community members will also be available through ECSU’s MAA project.

ECSU’s Aviation Science program will leverage partnerships with the NC Space Grant Consortium, NC State University-Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering Department, GoldenLEAF Foundation, NC East Alliance, and NC-Math and Science Enrichment Network, community groups, business, industry, educational and professional organizations to maximize the project impact.

NASA MUREP projects are designed to expand the nation's base for aerospace research and development, increase participation by faculty and students at minority-serving institutions, and increase the number of undergraduate and graduate degrees in NASA-related fields awarded to students from minority serving institutions.


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