NASA Selects Student Ambassadors
March 15, 2012

NASA Selects Student Ambassadors

NASA has selected 100 of their “high-performing interns” to be inducted into the 2012 NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. The Student Ambassadors program is part of NASA´s effort to encourage learning and education in their related fields. Referring to these fields of study as STEM (or science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), NASA also provides research, teaching, and training tools for educators on their website. The agency also provides internship opportunities and scholarships for interested students.

Each group of selected interns to participate in this virtual community is called a “Cohort”. As this most recent group to be selected will be the fourth in the program's history, they will be known as “Cohort IV” and will be comprised of students from 34 states and 73 universities in the United States.

In the press release announcing their decisions, associate administrator for education at NASA Leland Melvin said: "Congratulations Cohort IV on your selection to the NASA Student Ambassadors. "We are proud of your commitment to excellence and your spirit of 'paying it forward.' Being selected for this prestigious group is an honor, and your creativity and innovation will help NASA inspire the STEM workforce of the future and the next generation of explorers."

In joining this virtual community, the student ambassadors will be able to work with their peers as well as NASA employees on research projects. Team members will also be asked to represent NASA at various events and functions by giving talks and presentations, as well as recruit other student ambassadors to join the program. Through the virtual community website, the students of Cohort IV will be able to connect with NASA employees as well as share information. In doing so, the students will be able to use these professional connections as they move forward in their own careers. The virtual community´s website also has tools to access student ambassador profiles, blogs, announcements, and other career resources.

According to NASA, agency managers and mentors received hundreds of applications from current NASA interns to be considered for the student ambassador program.

According to the press release, NASA hails their student program, saying “ NASA's internships are among the most exciting research and educational opportunities available to college students. This online initiative also serves as a vehicle for recognizing outstanding student contributions.”

NASA aims to use the program and its website as a way to acknowledge and increase the visibility of these student interns, as well as increase the involvement  and contributions of STEM programs.

The student ambassadors program is an example of how NASA is trying to reach out to the younger generation and gain some valuable visibility in today´s colleges and universities.

"The NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community serves as an outreach vehicle to the nation's students and is an effective way to engage exceptional Gen-Y students," added Mabel J. Matthews, NASA's higher education manager in the press release. "This innovative activity is important to helping the agency attract, engage, educate and employ future scientists and engineers."