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Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter

Description of NASA-LEND-SPS Scholar/Intern Program

The LEND science and engineering team has formed a partnership with several educational and public outreach entities to design a program to directly address the goal of actively and purposefully engaging educators and students in space science research activities. The program is based upon providing a set of internships for students and fellowships for faculty, sustained over the timeline of the LEND project, with the goal of producing active research groups in the field of space science at the selected campuses.

The groups selected for partnership in the LEND E/PO activities include the American Institute of Physics (AIP), the Society of Physics Students (SPS), and the Minority University-SPace Interdisciplinary Network (MU-SPIN), a NASA GSFC-based program of outreach to minority and under-served universities. The proposed E/PO initiative brings together two existing programs: the undergraduate intern program of AIP/SPS and MU-SPIN’s Network Resource and Training Site program (NRTS). Undergraduates (to be known as NASA/LEND Scholars) at participating institutions will engage in 8.5 week summer internships at GSFC for the duration of the LEND project (2007-09), while their faculty mentors (to be known as LEND Fellows) will visit GSFC for several weeks to familiarize them with the project and data. The students and faculty will work directly with NASA scientists active in the LEND project in the summer, and continue the project when the summer is over. The program is sustained during the academic year by a variety of mechanisms which include: funding for student research stipends, a new course (or courses) or seminar series in undergraduate research developed by the faculty mentor, and travel to appropriate conferences and launch events by student and faculty. As the faculty member gains familiarity and expertise with the science of the mission, she/he will then take on a larger roles in the mentorship process, which is another critical ingredient to sustaining the benefits of the program beyond a mere summer internship. The intent is to involve the LEND scholars in the research endeavor until they graduate, and to engage the institution, the SPS chapter and the LEND Fellows in the research process until the mission is complete in 2009. The ambition is to nurture space science research groups at three undergraduate institutions with diverse student populations, so they become regular contributors to the body of space science research.

SPS Internships

J. Cantu 2007 Intern SPSJesus Cantu
2007 SPS Intern
New Mexico State University

D. McNeel 2008 SPS InternDaniel McNeel
2008 SPS Intern
New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM

J. Castellano, 2009 SPS InternJose Castellano
2009 SPS Intern
New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM)