Queensborough selected for NASA grant program

By Tom Momberg

Queensborough Community College has been selected to receive a $750,000 research grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to administer student training and expand course offerings in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. or STEM.

The grant will be disbursed between June 2016 and May 2019.

QCC’s assistant professor of physics and principal investigator of the grant, Dr. M. Chantale Damas, said the City University of New York-NASA Solar and Atmospheric Research Program and Education Partnership would help the school expand its space weather education, which requires an intimate knowledge of every STEM discipline.

“This grant presents a wonderful opportunity to further establish our relationship with NASA and to encourage motivated students and faculty at the community college level to engage in research in solar, geospace and atmospheric physics under the umbrella discipline of space weather,” Damas said in a statement.

Because space weather can have a great impact on ground-based technological systems, QCC said it is a great topic to use as a way of getting more of its students interested in STEM disciplines.

Recognizing that QCC was one of only four community colleges in the country to receive the grant this year, Queensborough President Dr. Diane Call said the grant will expand opportunities for all of the college’s students.

“It clearly demonstrates how Dr. Damas exemplifies the talent and dedication of our faculty in providing students with undergraduate research opportunities unique to potential careers in the STEM fields,” Call said in a statement.

The new curriculum established by the grant will offer STEM students at QCC opportunities for paid year-long undergraduate research, summer internships at NASA and its partner institutions, as well as a seminar series with speakers from NASA for students and faculty.