A new creative initiative was proposed to me not too long ago by one of my Project Managers’, Ms. Tabisa Kalisa, on how we can better increase our partnerships and engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Serving Institutions (HBCUs/MSIs). The event would be hosted by the Office of Small Business Programs, the Office of Education and the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The initiative would test out a pilot program called the NASA Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Serving Institutions (HBCUs/MSIs) Technology Infusion Road Tour. At the 2nd Annual HBCU/MSI Partnerships Meeting at Marshall Space Flight Center there was great interest expressed from colleges and universities that wanted to participate in the pilot program including North Carolina Central University, The University of Texas at El Paso and Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University whom were among those selected to participate in FY16. This initiative is two-fold as it is designed to help assist educational institutions integrate new technology that supports the Agency’s mission and it also aids NASA in making and exceeding our 1% goal for HBCUs/MSIs. We are also the only Agency in the government with this goal to date.
Our first event for the NASA HBCU/MSI Technology Infusion Road Tour was held at North Carolina Central University on March 22-24, 2016. I was able to attend the first two days of the event and I have to say I was quite impressed with all the enthusiasm and participation among the attendees. There were about 50 HBCU/MSI attendees and a good amount of NASA prime contractors including Boeing and SAIC that participated in the open forum Q&A. This was a good opportunity to ask questions about the Mentor Protégé Program, STMD’s Small Business Innovative Research/Small Business Technical Transfer opportunities and the Office of Education’s grant and cooperative agreement opportunities. I felt like the event was extremely productive and we took away many lessons learned to make our next event even more beneficial.
The next NASA HBCU/MSI Technology Infusion Road Tour will be on April 19-21, 2016 at The University of Texas at El Paso. Based off our first event, I have no doubt that I will be just as impressed with this one if not more. Our Eventbrite link is open where you can register and find out more details on this upcoming Road Tour.
I wish everyone a happy and safe spring and thank you for reading my latest post!