The goals of the TSGC Higher Education programs
are to foster development and sharing of space related educational
resources and experiences among consortium members in Texas and nationwide
and to foster high quality graduate level space research at consortium
Since 1994 TSGC has conducted 326 Higher Education
activities involving over three thousand undergraduate and graduate
|Provide fellowships and scholarships
emphasizing student research and mentoring components.
|4.2, 4.3, 4.4
|Stress development of interdisciplinary
courses and curriculum.
|4.1, 4.2, 4.5
|Enhance pre-service teacher education
emphasizing coordination with existing efforts
|Develop community college initiatives.
|Focus on involving underrepresented
groups including women and people with disabilities.
||4.2, 4.3, 4.5
|Develop courses that use emerging
||4.1, 4.2, 4.3
For most of these students this was the first exposure
that they had to space related concepts in the classroom. Many have
gone on to receive graduate degrees in space related fields. A total
of $5.9M of direct and in-kind support was devoted to these activities.
Greater than 93% of these funds were provided by outside sources
with less than 7% provided by TSGC.
This program provides a unique academic experience
for undergraduate students to successfully propose, design, fabricate,
fly and assess a reduced-gravity experiment of their own design during
an eight month academic/flight experience. That experience includes
scientific scholarship, hands-on test operations and education/public
The JSC's Reduced-Gravity Program provides a true
three-dimensional "weightless" training and testing environment.
Originally the province of astronauts in training and flights in
support of missions ranging from Mercury to the Space Station, NASA's
Boeing KC-135A has recently provided other NASA, government, academic
and commercial users with a reduced-g experiment venue.
An undergraduate student from Texas A&M University
operating her team's experiment on NASA's KC-135A in microgravity.
The program is designed to encourage
teams to participate either as an organized class project or as an
independent study project.
It is highly recommend that the participating team's academic institution
convey class credit for the successful completion of the program.
Each selected team usually includes up to four undergraduate students,
a supervising faculty member, and one professional journalist. At
least two students from each team will be able to fly on the KC-135
This program began in 1995 as the Texas Space
Grant Consortium Students Understanding Reduced-Gravity Flight (SURF)
Academy. In five short years the program has grown from flying four
Texas-only student teams to flying over one hundred teams of high
school and undergraduate students.
The objectives of the TSGC Advanced Design Project
(TADP) are: to improve design education at participating institutions;
to excite students about design by using space design topics; to
provide modest funding to support design education at participating
schools; and to provide NASA with a stream of new and innovative
In Spring 1995, TSGC initiated this program modeled
after the recently canceled NASA/USRA Advanced Design Program. The
TADP is a multi-university, multi-disciplinary, design project in
which students from various institutions cooperate to produce a space
related design. Led by the University of Texas at Austin and Texas
A&M University, the program involves universities with extensive
design programs and vast experiences in spacecraft design to universities
with no prior experience in spacecraft design. Twenty-five percent
of the universities involved are federally designated minority institutions.
Each year, approximately fifty undergraduate students
participate in the program. These students form into design teams
with a student leader and a local faculty advisor. Each team works
on related design projects. This necessitates and provides opportunities
to cooperate. Each student team is expected to send one or more representatives
to end-of-the-semester design meetings to present their work to the
other attendees and to representatives of NASA and industry. Coordination
of the various teams is accomplished by graduate students from The
University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University. The program's
yearly budget of $50K serves to stimulate over $450K of in-kind support
from the students, faculty, and the local space industry.
Past Project Foci:
- Lunar Oxygen Verification Experiment (L.O.V.E.): a technology
demonstration spacecraft that extracts Oxygen from the lunar regolith
- Power From Space: research of possible solutions to the world's
power requirements for next century
- Various projects supporting the exploration of Mars
TSGC's graduate student fellowships and undergraduate
student scholarships are designed to recognize high-quality students
at TSGC institutions and encourage their further pursuit of space-related
careers. Since 1994 TSGC has awarded over $720,000 in fellowships
and scholarships. Students receiving these awards perform research
in space-related topics. Their disciplines range from Aerospace Engineering
to Neuroscience to Biomedical Engineering.
The TSGC and member institutions have been successful
in achieving ethnic diversity and involving underrepresented groups
in educational, research and outreach programs. The success of the
TSGC program has continued despite limitations imposed through the
recent Hopwood vs. The State of Texas decision that limited consideration
of ethnic background and underrepresentation in the evaluation of
student packages for admission, scholarships, and fellowships. Since
1995 30% of TSGC's Fellowship and Scholarship awards have been to
minorities. This closely matches the 31% minority enrollment in universities
in the state of Texas.
Graduate Fellowship Implementation
TSGC awards a $5,000 Fellowship to supplement a
half-time equivalent appointment at his/her home institution. Each
fall TSGC announces and distributes the Fellowship program for the
following academic year. Graduate students can either receive an
application from their university representative or download it from
the TSGC web site. Applications are submitted to the university representative
who is responsible for the initial pre-selection process. Each university
may submit up to three applicants to a consortium-wide selection
committee. The selection committee is made up of faculty from the
Academic Affiliates, excluding the Space Grant Colleges. The effectiveness
of the Fellowship program is continually evaluated and modified at
the semi-annual consortium meetings. For example, a recent modification
is allowing institutions to utilize a Fellowship to aid in recruiting
top students into their space-related graduate programs.
Undergraduate Scholarship Implementation
TSGC awards a $1,000 Scholarship to encourage students
at each of its Academic Institutions to pursue graduate studies in
space related subjects. Each fall TSGC announces and distributes
the Undergraduate Scholarship program for the following year. Undergraduate
students can either receive an application from their university
representative or download it from the TSGC web site. Applications
are submitted to the university representative who is responsible
for the entire selection process. Each representative then notifies
the TSGC Program Office of its selection and details their local
This program focuses on the development of meaningful
and useful learning materials for non-technical audiences based on
the TOPEX/POSEIDON (T/P) spacecraft mission. It promotes direct involvement
by university students in T/P research and helps to increase the
public awareness and support of the Mission to Planet Earth. The
program also provides pre-service and in-service K-12 teachers with
T/P-based materials tied to their basic teaching goals that will
assist them in generating enthusiasm in their students about science,
mathematics, and engineering.
One aspect of this program was to design a shallow
water buoy-type instrumentation platform that carries satellite ranging
equipment in order to better understand the bays in the Gulf of Mexico
and the oceans. Teams of undergraduate and high school students received
scholarships to design, fabricate, and test a buoy capable of supporting
and protecting a GPS (Global Positioning System) receiver antenna
and measuring other ocean properties which are used to calibrate
the T/P satellite. They also had the opportunity to work side by
side with scientists from the University of Texas Center for Space
Research. In the words of one T/P participant:
“This is what I want to do later on in my life. Today, I'm getting
a head start on learning how to use the equipment and what it is
Undergraduate students from the University of Texas and the
University of Colorado Boulder and High School students from the Galveston
their designs for the T/P Calibration Experiment in the Gulf of Mexico.
Another aspect of the program is pre-service and
in-service K-12 teacher workshops that provide space-related education.
TSGC has conducted many workshops with the theme "T/P Education and
Classroom Activities". Each workshop is structured to meet the needs
of its participants while maintaining common elements. At each workshop
TSGC distributes over 1,000 pages of T/P and other space-related
information, classroom-tested activities, posters, CD ROMs, reproducible
lectures, and many other items.
The goal of these summer workshops is to strengthen
the interest of 7th and 8th grade girls and their teachers in engineering
fields. Each summer 48 girls and 16 teachers attend this program
conducted by the Women in Engineering Program at The University of
Texas at Austin. TSGC sponsors a session for the girls on what it
is like to have a career in engineering. TSGC also sponsors sessions
for the teachers on space flight and satellite applications.
In an effort to improve space-related educational programs in two-year
institutions in the state of Texas, TSGC has established an ongoing
task force to address
the following opportunities and issues:
- 82 Community College Systems in the state
- 450,000 community college students
- the current low level of funding per member institution
- how to include community colleges without diluting funding
- how to have a very low cost meaningful program at community colleges
This task force was initiated in 1992 and originally
came to the conclusion that individual TSGC member institutions would
involve Community Colleges when and if good opportunities arose.
In 1998 this task force was charged with reevaluating its original
position and will report to the BOD in the spring and fall of 1999.
The goal of this project is to develop meaningful earth science presentations
based on handheld photographs taken from the space shuttle by astronauts.
essays" will be evaluated, edited, and integrated into pre-service K-12 teacher
classrooms. The final product will be posted on TSGC's web site.
Another aspect of this program was for undergraduate students
to develop conceptual designs of systems to produce Earth imagery from the
Space Station nadir pointing window.