NASA and the Department of Education are joining forces to increase the participation of Historically Black College and University students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

According to a press release, the partnership will improve the federal Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Scholar Recognition Program. Thanks to NASA’s helping hand, HBCU students participating in its pitch competition can join the HBCU Scholar Recognition Program starting in early 2022. The program honors the White House mission to highlight excellence and improve the standard of living for minority students within their communities.

“Our relationship with NASA validates the Biden-Harris Administration’s and the initiative’s commitment to enhancing STEM in the HBCU space,” said Arthur McMahan, senior associate director for the Initiative. “This opportunity provides our outstanding HBCU Scholars with the tools and experiences needed to succeed in the 21st Century economy and beyond.”

What Students Should Accept

The pitch competition will feature a toned-down version of NASA’s Minority University Education and Research Program (MUREP) Innovation and Tech Transfer Idea Competition (MITTIC).

Students will have an opportunity to work in teams and dive into NASA’s various intellectual properties for its conventions in the commercial center. Teams will also be in touch with NASA’s MITTIC team and subject matter throughout the process of conceptualizing their “Space Tank” pitches.

“NASA is excited to formalize our participation and see the innovated ideas HBCU scholars will bring to the competition,” said MUREP manager Torry Johnson in a press release statement. “Since 2018, MITTIC has provided students at Minority Serving Institutions a glimpse into NASA’s Technology Transfer Program and a unique opportunity to explore their entrepreneurial interests using NASA’s technology portfolio.”

Applications WIll Open Early 2022

Students can begin their submission for the HBCU scholar application beginning early this year.

Once students are admitted they can expect to hit the ground running working alongside NASA to prepare their team for the Annual National HBCU Week Conference in September.

For more information on the  Space Technology Mission Directorate and NASA’s Technology Transfer Program, click here.