KSGC Program Highlights


Student Impact Highlights

Participant: Shanya Dorsey
Affiliate: University of Kansas
Project: Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate Program

"Receiving support from the Kansas Space Grant Consortium- funded project by means of a graduate teaching assistantship, has left a tremendous impact. Such impact this funded project has granted include moments and opportunities of learning, exploration, mentoring, as well as flourishing into more of a professional. These attainments spawned into skills that I think can be used beyond academia. In particular, having to communicate with intention and audience awareness that all students do not think alike, has led to this reflection of prompt adaptation and exploration that communication is not two-sided, but instead a truthful complexity. Picking up on verbal cues or trying to communicate a concept in many ways, to guide students towards success, pushed me to reflect on my level of expertise, as well as how do I come across so that there is a common level of understanding amongst myself, the student, and material."

Program Highlights

Affiliate: Kansas State University 
Project: Multicultural Engineering Program: NASA Speaker Professional Development Events

The Multicultural Engineering Program at Kansas State University, a Kansas Space Grant-funded project, annually invites a NASA speaker to KSU to speak and meet with students. In Spring 2021, Mr. Aaron Yazzie, Mechanical Engineer at NASA JPL, led a series of virtual events on the topic of MARS2020 for students and Native American organizations at KSU. Over 100 students attended, as well as representatives from multiple chapters of AISES and industry. In Fall 2021, Mr. Lee G Willis, Senior Project Engineer at NASA JSC, gave a presentation entitled, “Spacesuits: The Wardrobe for Space” to current KSU students. Mr. Willis is a KSU alumnus who was a part of the Multicultural Engineering Program after it was established in 1977. Over 130 students attended three events with Mr. Willis. In Spring 2023, Ms. Valeria Salazar, System Integration and Test Engineer at NASA JPL, was invited to speak about the Europa Clipper mission and bring the perspective of a Latina engineer involved in SHPE.
Affiliate: Fort Hays State University 
Project: NASA Scholars

The NASA Scholars program at Fort Hays State University utilizes Kansas Space Grant funding to create a competitive scholarship opportunity for incoming students, with preference given to female and underrepresented students. Selected students are given an annual award and allowed to renew the award for up to four years with satisfactory progress in the degree program. FHSU leverages a long-running collaboration with the Air Force Research Laboratory and Virginia Tech SuperDARN project to provide students opportunities to participate in meaningful undergraduate research. 14 students participated in the NASA Scholars program in FY23. Six students utilized a dual-degree (3+2) pathway program with other schools to complete both engineering and physics degrees. FHSU contributes to STEM workforce development, and many rural and low-income students from Kansas select FHSU due to its location and low tuition costs within the state.
Affiliate: Kansas State University 
Project: GROW and EXCITE Summer Workshop

Kansas Space Grant funding support the June 2023 Kansas State University GROW (Girls Researching Our World)/EXCITE (Exploring Science, Technology, & Engineering) Summer Workshop, which had 78 middle and high school students attend a three-day two-night stay at the campus in Manhattan, Kansas. 13% of participants were underrepresented individuals. Students got to participate in a wide variety of hands-on activities led by STEM faculty members and doctoral students, which ranged from Chemical Engineering and Computer Science to Agronomy and Nutrition. Participants were also able to participate in a Chemistry Science Fair led by Dr. Peter Sues, Dr. Jun Li, Dr. Christine Aikens, and Dr. Ryan Rafferty. Students commented, "I would recommend that my friends participate in this activity because I learned many things that I haven’t known about before, I made new friends, and it was very fun" and "I will recommend this activity. I have many friends that love STEM."
Affiliate: Wichita State University  
Project: NASA WSU Jump Start Program

The NASA Wichita State University Jump Start Program uses Kansas Space Grant funding for paid student positions. Jump Start students work on NASA relevant projects including in the last year creating a simulation of an airship, building a robust quantum repeater, working on testing in the NIAR Beech Wind Tunnel on campus, and research on sound absorption characteristics of aerogel agglomerates. 19 students participated in the program in AY23, and one student collaborated on a peer-reviewed journal article. Several students noted positive experiences in the program, stating, “I like the versatility of the projects I get to be in charge of and I've definitely been able to expand and improve skills in all areas,” and “I have worked on three different projects, all whom have had a significant impact on my academic portfolio and maturing engineering critical thinking.” The average length in the Jump Start Program is about two years.

Affiliate: Kansas State University 
Project: K-State Poly C.A.T.S., Salina Campus

K-State Polytechnic: C.A.T.S. is a program on the Kansas State University Salina Aerospace and Technology Campus that uses Kansas Space Grant funding to support innovative programs for elementary, middle, and high school students interested in careers in aviation and technology. KSU Poly outreach programs target recruitment of underrepresented and underprivileged groups in aviation and technology fields, and include a variety of program events, including Girls in Aviation Day (GIAD), Teen Women in Science and Technology (TWIST), STEM Road Show, and more. In 2021-2022, 200 K-12 students participated in outreach events, including 147 (74%) girls, and 24 K-12 educators participated, 18 (75%) of which were women. In 2022-2023, an additional 141 K-12 students participated in events, including 66 (47%) girls, with additional activities ongoing.
Affiliate: Cosmosphere
Project: Cosmosphere Aerospace Camps Program

The Cosmosphere is an International SciEd Center & Space Museum located in Hutchinson, Kansas. Cosmosphere Aerospace Camps Program leverages Kansas Space Grant funding to give university students the opportunity to lead STEM-based work projects over the summer while modeling to campers how the work relates to the pursuit of higher education in STEM related fields of study. In 2022, the program had a diverse set of counselors and directors with a notable number of women in leadership roles and also had a diverse set of people representing the LGBT+ community. 24% of undergraduate participants were from traditionally underrepresented or undeserved and diverse groups. 59% of undergraduate staff and 60% of our K-12 Educators identified as women. Many of former participants and directors end up in the aerospace industry.
Affiliate: Exploration Place
Project: Summer Camps

Last year, Exploration Place used Kansas Space Grant support to deliver 8 weeks of STEM camps at Exploration Place for 90 students per week plus seven weeks in rural and inner-city sites for a total of 785 campers. Because some campers attended more than one week, 427 unique students, age 6 to 13, participated. Camps included Design and Destruction, Robotics in Action, Rockets and Rovers, Video Game Design 101, Lost in space, and Minecraft unplugged. Campers practiced doing science and engineering by completing experiments and working through a daily engineering challenge in small groups. Leaders asked guiding questions when students felt stuck or asked for help. 12-year-old Sophia Johnson has been coming to Exploration Place camps since 2015. She says the space camps through the years are among her favorites, saying, “I love making rockets and setting them up really high. It is super fun… It’s fun to test different wing styles to make them go in different directions.”
Affiliate: Pittsburg State University
Project: Artificial Intelligence (AI) Curriculum Development

Pittsburg State University (PSU) uses Kansas Space Grant funding on a variety of projects, including developing curriculum for teaching artificial intelligence (AI) with an emphasis on the Internet of Things (IoT). Curriculum was developed to give students Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) relevant experience. In AY23, the curriculum was used in three classes: EET 549 01 (Advanced Microcontrollers), EET 745 01 (Advanced Microprocessor Systems and Applications), and EET 745 99 (online section of Advanced Microprocessor Systems and Applications). This led to three student research presentations, including the Kansas Undergraduate Research Day at the Capitol (virtual poster presentation), the Capitol Graduate Research Summit (poster presentation), and the PSU Research and Creative Endeavors Colloquium (poster presentation).

NASA in Kansas
Wichita State University
113B Wallace Hall
1845 Fairmount
Wichita, KS 67260
(316) 978-3890