As part of a growing collaboration between the University of the Virgin Islands and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to promote STEM education, Virgin Islands students will join students from around the world to learn about the array of opportunities available in the fields of STEM and how they can take part in internships, science education and citizen science activities offered by the space agency, UVI has announced.
According to the release, the annual, week-long outreach event will offer 17 virtual sessions to be held Jan. 24-28 featuring live presentations from NASA scientists including Virgin Islander Simmione Fullwood. Another important topic to be explored throughout the week is climate change.
Fullwood grew up on St. Croix and dreamt of the stars. After graduating from college, she landed at NASA and now serves as a NASA flight service engineer with more than 23 years of engineering experience. “I’m excited to join this event because I want youth from all over and especially the Virgin Islands to know that no matter who you are or what your circumstance, you too can be a part of the NASA family,” she said. “Getting a good education will lead you to that dream which is exactly how I got here.”
UVI President Dr. David Hall encouraged all Virgin Islands students and educators to participate. “The University of the Virgin Islands is honored once again to host this outstanding educational event, and to work in collaboration with NASA, a world-renowned agency for scientific exploration and innovation,” said Dr. Hall. “This event will not only highlight the work of students in the Virgin Islands and nationally but will be an inspiration to educators as well. As a University we are deeply concerned about climate change and our Caribbean Center for Green Technology has been a leading resource in the Virgin Islands for addressing this challenge. To have climate change as a focus for this gathering will make this undertaking more relevant to the preservation of these beautiful islands which we call home. As President I look forward to welcoming all participants and participating in this worthy educational endeavor.”
According to the release, for Virgin Islands students, three outreach sessions will be offered each day via Microsoft Teams at 9 a.m., 10:45 a.m. and 1 p.m. (AST) for grade levels ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade. Wednesday’s schedule will be different, however, when presenters address an international audience of e4usa National Pre-Engineering students, and students from as far away as India, South Africa, Hawaii and Scotland. Dr. Hall will welcome participants joined by Dr. Darryll Pine, president of the University of the Maryland and principal investigator of the e4usa National Science Foundation grant, which supports pre-engineering in high schools across the nation.
In addition to multiple presentations from NASA scientists, Wednesday’s event will feature local student presenters from the Addelita Cancryn Intermediate School, All Saints School and Gifft Hill School. Students will have the opportunity to present directly to NASA scientists, receive feedback and find out how they can join the agency ranks after graduating from college. Presentations will include all areas of science as well as other related NASA careers in accounting, exercise science, healthcare and graphic design.
A special presentation for high school and college students aged 16 and over who are interested NASA internship programs and/or scholarship opportunities at UVI is scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 25 from 5-6 p.m.
Teachers and counselors can learn about scholarships and internship programs in a separate session scheduled on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 5-6 p.m. Participants will also receive educational resources tied to the next generation of STEM standards and learn how they can use the tools in their classrooms.
UVI Associate Professor of Physics and Director of UVI’s Etelman Observatory, Dr. David Morris, whose research is supported by a variety of grants from NASA, emphasized the importance of this opportunity for local youth. “UVI’s physics and engineering program and our students have benefited tremendously over the past decade from our relationship with NASA,” said Morris. “NASA’s support of the physics program and new engineering concentration at UVI will train an entirely new generation of engineering talent right here in the USVI. The experience that our students gain by working at UVI on NASA programs is leading them to excellent job opportunities in the USVI and abroad, even at NASA centers.”
Pre-registration is required to receive a link for a session. To register, please email?[email protected]. To view the event online during the week of Jan. 24-28, go to the UVI YouTube Channel or UVI Facebook and watch the event live.