TSGC's mission is to enable the people of Texas, at all points in their lives and educational careers, to be inspired by and participate in the exploration of the great unknown of outer space.
The Texas Space Grant Consortium [TSGC] was organized in 1989 as a team of academic, industry, state government, and non-profit institutions from all regions of the state in support of the National Space Grant College & Fellowship Program [NSGC&FP]. TSGC is currently comprised of 35 affiliate institutions, 3 Space Grant Colleges, 24 other academic affiliates, 3 commercial firms, 3 non-profit organizations, and 2 state agencies.
TSGC's mission is to enable the people of Texas, at all points in their lives and educational careers, to participate in and be inspired by the exploration of the great unknown of outer space. To do this TSGC conducts programs that enable people to better understand and participate in NASA's mission of space exploration. These programs are grouped into four major areas: K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach, Higher Education, Fellowships & Scholarships, and Research Infrastructure Development. TSGC strives to maintain a balance of funding and the application of other resources across these four programmatic areas.
In K-12 Education/ General Public Outreach programs TSGC's primary focus is to inspire middle and high school students to pursue careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics [STEM] by enabling educators to integrate the exploration of space into their classroom activities. Focusing on the professional development of K-12 educators enables TSGC to directly impact the STEM pipeline with hundreds of K-12 educators, indirectly via thousands of other educators, and ultimately add to the education of hundreds of thousands of students and parents across the state of Texas and the nation.
In the words of one participant "LiftOff Summer Institute was an everlasting experience. I can't wait until school starts! I am so excited about sharing everything that I experienced, not only with my students, but with fellow teachers and colleagues."
TSGC's Higher Education programs focus on enabling undergraduates of all levels to participate in real life research and design along side NASA personnel. While performing research and engaging in design challenges undergraduates are exposed to the real world applications of their ongoing education and are challenged to stretch themselves beyond the realm of the traditional classroom.
As so eloquently stated by one student "This program and this type of experience has helped each of the team members understand engineering and science more than they ever did before. Moreover, the team members were able to work with and learn from students from other universities around the country and with NASA employees. Such experiences are truly rare for most college students."
Each year TSGC awards undergraduate student scholarships and graduate student fellowships to reward and motivate young leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to pursue further education and careers in direct support of NASA's exploration mission. Concerning the impact of this program one scholar stated that "you have helped me to prove ‘dreams do come true!' and ‘dreams will come true'."
TSGC's Research Infrastructure Development program focuses upon fostering the development of long-lasting partnerships between academia and industry in research that directly supports NASA's mission. This program has assisted in establishing major academia-industry partnerships at eight TSGC academic institutions. Though this program, with a modest investment of $590K, TSGC has facilitated over $6M in research funding. As stated by one researcher concerning these relationships "[they have] enabled TCU to compete with much larger institutions for funding from State and federal agencies."
TSGC's programs form an integrated effort to increase the number of students understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics [STEM] and to ultimately increase the number of students in the pipeline leading to careers in STEM related disciplines.
Just as importantly, many of TSGC's K-12 efforts are designed to provide an appreciation of science and technology to those who do not or will not enter high tech careers. Using NASA's mission as the focus of TSGC's STEM based activities helps to generate a level of interest in science and mathematics by many in this important, but often neglected segment of the population
The chart below demonstrates that TSGC's broad range of educational programs support the STEM pipeline and provide opportunities in educational service areas spanning K-12, College, Graduate School and Faculty.