NASA STEM MUREP Aerospace Academy Program Reaches Milestone at York College

by Tommy Cornelis

This is a guest blog post by Nazrul I. Khandaker, Ph.D., P.G.
Director, NASA STEM Program called MUREP Aerospace Academy
York College of CUNY (The City University of New York)

As a Director of the NASA K1-10 STEM Outreach Program called MUREP AEROSPACE ACADEMY (MAA), I am delighted to share with you that with our current spring 2017 session, over 20,000 students earned valuable STEM experience and enabled York’s nationally-known STEM site to reach a milestone!

The NASA MUREP (Minority University Research and Education Project) Aerospace Academy (aka MAA) made its debut at York College for the first time on October 17, 2015 and it replaced SEMAA (Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy) Program.

The predecessor to the NASA MAA was the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA, which began in 1993, as a partnership between NASA Glenn Research Center and Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio. The York site was one of the oldest and has offered the SEMAA Program to the community since 1999. Through our previous SEMAA and current MUREP Aerospace Academy, we’ve served over 20,000 students since 1999. This year alone (2016 spring/winter, 2016 summer, and fall 2016), York’s NASA MAA served over 1950 students (direct participants) and reached out 1750 plus indirect participants as part of its vigorous outreach activities via hosting NASA MAA STEM events including community science fair, open houses, bringing Starlab to the community schools, back to school day, summer camp, 4-H Club, etc.  York MAA greatly acknowledges the generous support of NASA and National Grid , which enables the current MAA session to offer state-of the-art STEM education to the greater York community.

The MUREP Aerospace Academy (MAA) goals are to: improve STEM literacy by engaging K-12 students, family members, and teachers through the integration of emerging technologies; and to educate students utilizing a STEM curriculum that meets national science, technology, engineering and mathematics standards aligned to NASAs mission directorates.

The MAA awards are already making impacts and enabling York to:

  • increase the number of historically underserved and underrepresented students interested in NASA specific STEM careers;
  • provide skills to parents/caregivers to work with and encourage their children in STEM activities and programs;
  • involve community groups, business, industry, museums, educational and professional organizations through mentoring, field trips, guest speakers, and other MAA activities;
  • and engage students in participatory activities such as hands-on-learning, research, use of advanced technology, peer support groups, and mentoring relationships with professionals working in the STEM fields.

York’s NASA MAA program offers engaging, hands-on and fun science activities for children currently in 1st -10th grades. Students catch the excitement and engage in STEM activities including StarLab (star gazing), Flight Simulation, Robotics, Mindstorm EV3, Lego, Wind Tunnel, GPS, space mathematics, Liquid Nitrogen ice cream making, Astronaut training, cool Chemistry experiments, NASA STEM education pipeline activities, etc.

Recent visit to the program by NY 1 aptly labeled it “An academy in Jamaica gives kids a ‘galactic’ look at the globe.”  NY1’s Shannan Ferry explains  about York’s NASA MAA Program