NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium Receives $868,284 Grant for NASA’s Summer of Innovation

Monday, May 17 2010

MOSCOW, Idaho – The NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) was chosen as one of only four states to participate in NASA’s Summer of Innovation (SOI) program. The ISGC’s proposal, Idaho, Montana and Utah – Summer of Innovation: NASA Education and STEM Programs for Underrepresented Populations, was awarded the full grant of $868,284 for the three year program.

The SOI experience will begin in June 2010. The NASA ISGC SOI program will bring NASA-centered science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education to middle schools with high populations of students from underrepresented groups.

Six ISGC teams will travel to a total of 13 locations on the tribal reservations and in areas with high Latino student populations throughout Idaho, Montana and Utah. At each location, the teams will conduct summer programs with both students and teachers. The programs will be based on the NASA themes of space exploration, aeronautics and earth science.

The SOI program will equip teachers with tools that will help enhance their STEM curricula within their classrooms. The workshops will be offered at no charge to educators, and each teacher will receive a $250 stipend and two professional development credits for participating in the three-day program.

The student portion will consist of five days where they will attend classes, conduct experiments and participate in hands-on activities based on the NASA themes. Students will build model rockets as they learn about aeronautics, work with robots and cosmology as they study space exploration, and take field trips to learn about earth science. Classes will include topics in math, chemistry, physics, electronics, computer science, geology, earth science, biology and mechanics. All classes will be offered to students at no cost and each student will receive lunch each day while participating.

"We are humbled yet excited to bring NASA to our Native American and Hispanic populations," said Aaron Thomas, NASA ISGC director and principal investigator of the proposal. "We are looking forward to working with our junior high teachers and students throughout Idaho, Montana and Utah."

Team leaders will congregate in Boise, Idaho, June 7-8, for the SOI kick-off event, where they will attend workshops and develop the curriculum they will be teaching throughout the summer.

The tentative Summer of Innovation schedule is as follows:

June 14-16 (Teacher) Castledale, UT
June 21-23 (Teacher) Nampa, ID
June 27-July 2 (Student) Nampa ID
June 27-July 2 (Student) Blanding, UT
June 28-30 (Teacher) Homedale, ID
July 7-9 (Teacher) Plummer, ID
July 12-14 (Teacher) Lapwai, ID
July 12-14 (Teacher) Twin Falls, ID
July 18-23 (Student) Lapwai, ID
July 18-23 (Student) Twin Falls, ID
July 25-30 (Student) Skull Valley, UT
July 25-30 (Student) Blackfoot, ID
July 26-28 (Teacher) Blackfoot, ID
August 2-6 (Student) Plummer, ID
TBD (Teacher & Student) Polson, MT
TBD (Teacher & Student) Browning, MT

For more information or to request a registration packet for the ISGC’s 2010 Summer of Innovation program, contact the ISGC directly by phone at (208) 885-6438.
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About the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium
The NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium was established in 1991 as part of the NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The ISGC comprises 22 institutions including all colleges and universities in the state, science centers and museums, science organizations, state departments, industry representatives, a state park, and a national monument.

About the University of Idaho
Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 130 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. The university is home to the Vandals, the 2009 Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl champions. For information, visit

Media Contacts: Becky Highfill, ISGC Program Coordinator, (208) 885-4934,; or Shandy Lam, ISGC Communications Assistant, (208) 885-6030, More information is on the Web:

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit