Engaging STEM Education in IndianaPosted by Laura Danielson on May 29, 2012 in Blog, Education | 0 comments
The Polis Center gets involved in all kinds of interesting projects helping our diverse clients to achieve their goals. You probably know that our tool of choice for maximizing the value of data is GIS technology. By organizing information according to its location in space, many relationships among datasets become readily apparent that would otherwise be difficult and laborious to ascertain. What you may not have thought of is the fact that this technology is driven by complex mathematic computations and that the users of GIS need to have a familiarity with these concepts in order to push the technology to its limits.
Because of this connection with technology, mathematics, and other sciences involved in making maps from raw data, Polis has, for the last four years, been associated with NASA as the IUPUI liaison for the Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC). We’re very pleased to play this role for our university, and we’re proud, as a unit of the School of Liberal Arts, to serve as a kind of bridge between the arts and sciences.
Let me tell you a little bit about the Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC) and why it’s significant. The INSGC’s primary goal is to expand opportunities for Indiana citizens to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research, and public outreach efforts. Currently there are 52 consortia – one in each state, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. Annually, each consortium receives funds to develop and award student fellowship and scholarship programs, interdisciplinary NASA-related research, education and public service programs, and cooperative initiatives with industry, research labs, and state and local governments. The Space Grant programs are primarily geared toward higher education, although they do include some opportunities for elementary/secondary and informal education.
NASA defines the Space Grant College and Fellowship Program as:
1. A national network that
2. Promotes Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education, through
3. Cooperative programs and
4. Interdisciplinary programs, while
5. Recruiting and training the next diverse workforce
In recent years, some of the part-time employees plying their GIS skills here at Polis while pursuing their education have been recipients of scholarships and fellowships made available through Space Grants from NASA. Currently Richard Anderson and Ryan Stevens on our staff are benefiting from this resource.
If you are a student or a teacher in a STEM-related field, I would encourage you to learn more about this opportunity by visiting INSGC’s website.