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2015-16 STEM Bridge Scholarship Program

Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) provides renewable STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Bridge Scholarships of $1,000 to 2015-2016 sophomore students from any federally recognized minority group enrolled full-time in a program of STEM at one of the five Virginia Space Grant member universities.

Contact:   Rudo Kashiri, Education Programs Manager, 757/766-5210

Application deadline is March 16, 2015!


VSGC is currently recruiting applicants to the 2015-16 STEM Bridge Scholarship Program.

Overview
A major goal of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) is to help produce the engineers and scientists of the future. While opportunities for careers in aerospace have expanded, the number of talented students pursuing degrees in mathematics, engineering and the sciences has declined.  To encourage talented individuals to pursue science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related fields and research, the VSGC established the STEM Bridge Scholarship Program

Eligibility:

  • Must be a U.S. citizen
  • Students must be identified as a member of a federally recognized minority which includes students whose ethnicity is African American, Native American, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander.
  • Must enrolled as a full-time student (minimum 12 credit hours) at one of the five Virginia Space Grant Consortium member institutions (College of William and Mary, Hampton University , Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, and Virginia Tech)
  • Must have completed at least one year of a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) undergraduate program and be classified as a sophomore during the 2015-2016 academic year
  • Must have a grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
  • Must be in a program of study demonstrating an interest in STEM or supporting NASA's mission
  • Award is contingent upon review of spring 2015 final transcript

The STEM Bridge Scholarship Program is a great entryway into the NASA pipeline and can lead to future VSGC scholarships and fellowships and NASA internship programs. This is a competitive scholarship program, funded by NASA and the Commonwealth of Virginia contributions, with the goals of:

  • Increasing participation in STEM-related research and careers by students from any federally recognized minority who demonstrate high academic achievement and promise;
  • Promoting undergraduate STEM-related research by assisting students with establishing relationships with student and faculty mentors early in their academic career;
  • Increasing the diversity of applicants to VSGC’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program by creating a bridge program that supports federally recognized minority students in their early undergraduate years; and,
  • Implementing the goals of the Virginia Space Grant Consortium and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Benefits of Being a VSGC Undergraduate STEM Bridge Scholar

  • Students enter into the VSGC scholarship pipeline. This opportunity can lead to future VSGC scholarships and fellowships as well as NASA internship programs
  • Students are exposed early in their college careers to STEM-related research and will be connected to faculty and students conducting research at their institution.  Scholars can use this opportunity to identify research projects to be submitted for future scholarship opportunities.
  • Students are invited to join the Virginia Space Grant Current Scholars and Fellows Facebook page which will not only allow students to network with other scholars from the five member institutions but also keep abreast on upcoming programs and deadlines.
  • Students are also encouraged to join the NASA sponsored Minority Innovation Challenges Institute site especially created to prepare minority students for future NASA programs.
  • Students receive feedback and guidance on how to prepare applications for NASA-related and other STEM internships.

Awardee Requirements

FALL requirements for Sophomores:

Requirement 1 :

Awardees are required to attend a fall meeting at your schools with VSGC scholarship Coordinator. At the information session you will hear about all VSGC scholarships, fellowships and internships that are available. You will also meet current awardees and hear about NASA internships.

Requirement 2 :

  1. Conduct some online research about NASA's current missions or planned missions, from any of the four NASA Mission Directorates. NASA aligns its research and other activities into these four Directorates. Links to NASA Mission Directorates will be provided.
  2. Interview a current faculty member at your university who teaches and conducts research in an area of interest to you. This research should be of interest to NASA but not necessarily already being conducted by NASA. You will want to do some of your own research to identify someone who could possibly be a good mentor for your future research.

Awardees are required to submit a 1-2-page report summarizing what you learned during the interview and the NASA Mission Directorates.

After you complete both requirements, the first half of your scholarship award ($500) will be released.

Spring requirements for Sophomores:

There are two requirements for the spring semester. One is to apply for another scholarship with us, the STEM Bridge Scholarship renewal or the Undergraduate Research Scholarship. The second requirement is to attend our annual Student Research Conference held in April. (no cost to students)

After your conference evaluation is submitted to VSGC, the second half of your scholarship award ($500) will be released.

FALL requirements for Juniors /Renewals

Requirement 1

Awardees are required to attend a fall meeting at your schools with VSGC scholarship Coordinator. At the information session you will hear about all VSGC scholarships, fellowships and internships that are available. You will also meet current awardees and hear about NASA internships.

Requirement 2

Write a research abstract that will be the basis of your research and a 1-2 page outline of your work plan to develop the final proposal.

After you complete both requirements, the first half of your scholarship award ($500) will be released

Spring requirements for Juniors /Renewals

There are two requirements for the spring semester. One is to apply for the Undergraduate Research Scholarship. The second requirement is to attend our annual Student Research Conference held in April. (No cost to students) After your conference evaluation is submitted to VSGC, the second half of your scholarship award ($500) will be released.

Upon selection, awardees must submit an acceptance form and provide a photo and biographical information; inform the Consortium of changes of address; and respond to academic and employment follow-up surveys. Students may also be asked to share their experience in public forums, classroom presentations and professional meetings. Presentations that encourage interest in aerospace careers and research to high school students are of particular interest to the Consortium.

Selection Criteria

VSGC established this program to promote STEM-related careers and research at the undergraduate level and to serve as a bridge to VSGC’s Undergraduate Research Scholarship and Graduate Research Fellowship and other NASA related programs. 

Awardees should have an academic background that demonstrates a strong interest and ability in science, math, and technology reflected by completion of a significant number of these courses with high achievement.  The student should have the necessary academic coursework and preparation to be successful in a STEM major at the institution.  Awardees should also possess a strong interest in a STEM-related career demonstrated by participation in extracurricular activities and prior school projects in STEM.  Prior participation in research, NASA programs or similar STEM-related educational programs, both formal and informal, would also indicate the student has a good chance of sustaining interest in STEM.  Student applications will be judged based on academic merit, background, faculty recommendation and demonstrated interest in NASA and a career in STEM. 

More information about NASA four Mission Directorates can be found in the links below:

  • Space Technology - Develop the crosscutting, advanced and pioneering new technologies needed for current and future missions, benefiting the aerospace industry and other agencies, and addressing national needs.
  • Aeronautics Research - Enable a safer, more secure, efficient, and environmentally friendly air transportation system.
  • Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate - Operate the International Space Station and prepare for human exploration beyond low Earth orbit.
  • Science - Exploring the Earth-Sun system, our own solar system, and the universe beyond.

Application Review Process

Applications will be found online on the VSGC website.  Applications will only be accepted online.  VSGC will work directly with the institution’s VSGC Undergraduate STEM Bridge Scholarship Program point of contact and VSGC advisory council members to help facilitate a competitive selection process and will make final approval of all student selections.  VSGC will notify awardees of their selection and provide them with the awardee requirements and a description of the scholarship program. Students will be required to notify VSGC to officially accept or decline the scholarship offer.  VSGC will notify each institution of the student’s decision.

Disposition of Unused Funds

If an awardee terminates his/her academic program during the 2015-16 academic year, the University is required to return a prorated share of the scholarship award to the VSGC. Scholarship funds are not transferrable.

Application Timeline:
Awards will be announced by May 2015 with funding provided to students through the universities for the 2015-16 academic year.

Click here to access the STEM Bridge Scholarship Application

Featured STEM Bridge Scholars

Minnae Chabwera (former STEM Bridge Scholar) and Charles Bolden Jr. 12th NASA Administrator

Minnae Chabwera graduated as a physics major at Hampton University hailing from Newport News, VA. During her sophomore year at Hampton University Minnae was selected to be a STEM Bridge Scholarship Recipient. The following summer she was selected to represent VSGC at the Space Shuttle Symposium hosted by Georgia Tech in Atlanta, GA. During the 2011 summer Minnae was also selected to be one of the elite in the NASA Langley Research Aerospace Research Summer Scholars Program. In 2012, for the 2012-2013 school year Minnae has been selected to be a Virginia Space Grant Consortium Undergraduate Scholarship Recipient. She is interested in pursuing a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and has exceled in her undergraduate career. After she receives her doctorate degree Minnae plans to work for NASA as an aerospace engineer and one day serve them as an astronaut.

Barack Obama 44th President of the United States and Simmone Hyater-Adams (Former STEM Bridge Scholar)

Simone Hyater-Adams graduated as a physics major at Hampton University from Pennsauken New Jersey. Her interests in science and research have blossomed over the years with VSGC, starting in her freshmen year when she began the STEM Bridge Program. She has been involved with many NASA programs including the Un-Conference for the STS-135 Launch in the summer of 2011. Last summer, she also interned at NASA Langley as a part of the Langley Aerospace Resserch Summer Scholars (LARSS) program where she worked with Russell DeYoung on LIDAR research and developed a new interest in science education. Simone is currently involved with Spectroscopy research with Dr. Uwe Hommerich at Hampton and plans to continue her current research in graduate school.

Minnae and Simone both later awarded Undergraduate Research Award. STEM Bridge awardees that continue on our scholarship and fellowship pipeline can receive more than $20,000 from VSGC. Start your scholarship pipeline with us!!!!

If you would like to find out more information regarding other research scholarship and fellowship programs, visit the links below.