National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

University Affairs


University Affairs Programs Contact

Dr. M. David Kankam
University Affairs Officer – GRC
Tel: (216) 433-6143
Fax: (216) 433-3687

University Programs – Higher Education Brochures

Helpful Documentation

The following documents are meant to assist Glenn Research Center (GRC) researchers and both on-site and outside students familiarize themselves with pertinent information on University Programs-managed NASA higher education (HE) programs.

  1. NIFS Overview and Mentoring Guide (.pdf): Provides synopsis on NASA Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships, abbreviated as NIFS, which is one of NASA Office of Education’s four new Lines of Business (LOB) for undergraduate and graduate students.
  2. OSSI Mentor Overview (.pdf): Is documentation of step-by-step guide to assist mentors in posting research Opportunities in NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI), for consideration by prospective applicants.
  3. Mentoring Digest (.pdf): This guide for mentors is intended to convey best practices in mentoring. The aim is to promote an effective mentoring of students, to yield positive student experience and learning.
  4. Mentee Primer (.pdf): The primer prepares students for productive, enriched and mutually gainful experience at GRC


The University Programs Office (UP) offers a wide variety of potential placements for faculty and students of higher education at NASA Glenn Research Center. Collaborative faculty and student support is provided through a variety of NASA higher education programs. To assist students, STEM faculty and Glenn community become familiar with NASA higher education opportunities and attendant eligibility requirements and application-specific information, the programs are arranged per their applicability to undergraduate and graduate students, faculty in higher education, and postdoctoral fellows. The active programs precede the currently inactive ones.

(A) Active Higher Education Programs

(A-1) Programs for Students

(A-1.1) NASA Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships (NIFS)

Since fall 2013, NASA Office of Education has integrated a bulk of previously existing individual groups of NASA-funded internships, fellowships and scholarships into single combined entities of NASA Internships, Scholarships and Fellowships (NIFS). The purpose of the integration is to eliminate duplication of programs, while realizing substantial administration and implementation costs, as well as, creating efficiency through consolidated management. The program integration addresses the conclusion reached by the national Committee on STEM Education, Co-STEM, “that there may be a number of possible approaches to improving the federal STEM education portfolio, including: consolidating programs, creating joint solicitations across agencies, and developing structures and procedures for sharing program data and performance measurement and evaluation tools” [1]. The following paragraphs provide a digest of the components of NIFS. ([1] “Federal Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Education: 5-Year Strategic Plan”, by Committee on STEM Education/National Science and Technology Council, May 2013)


NASA internships seek to identify, cultivate and sustain a diverse workforce for the agency and the U.S. by increasing competency and improving retention of students in disciplines relevant to NASA and the nation. The internships are, also, designed to help a diverse pool of students, particularly inclusive of underserved and underrepresented populations, gain experience in classroom-developed skills and knowledge towards advancing NASA’s mission. Other measurable outcomes are internship-driven increase in productivity in mentors’ programs and projects, while interns develop commitment to careers in NASA-related fields.


The goals of NASA fellowships are to:

  1. Cultivate research ties to the academic community in disciplines relevant to advancing NASA mission; and
  2. Help meet the needs of U.S. aeronautics and space technologies by increasing the number and diversity of highly trained STEM professionals.

Fellowships exist for the purpose of:

  1. Providing direct student awards in higher education to
  2. Diverse underrepresented and underserved students; and
  3. Veterans
    at percentages that meet or exceed the national and publicly available STEM enrollment percentages for the cited populations.
  4. Improving the retention of STEM-majoring students by providing them with opportunities along the full-spectrum of higher education pipeline, to yield a higher national pool of STEM graduates.
  5. Identifying, cultivating and sustaining a diverse workforce for NASA and the U.S.

Other fellowships opportunities are offered by NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD), Science Mission Directorate (SMD), and Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). All fellowships are competitively awarded to support independently conceived or designed research by qualified students engaged or majoring in STEM disciplines deemed relevant to advancing NASA mission.


NASA scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students are competitive merit-based, financial awards for STEM studies. In addition to agency-branded, Office of Education-managed NASA scholarships, NASA Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate offers its ARMD-centric Aeronautics Scholarship Program (ASP) for students with academic concentration in aeronautics and related disciplines. The common objective of NASA scholarships is to inspire and support STEM professionals. The two categories of scholarships are:

  1. One-Year Non-renewable Smaller Investments
    Such scholarship is typically funded at less than $5K for student recipients to engage in NASA pipeline opportunities. Award recipients are required to complete a NASA on-line learning module or other NASA-sponsored STEM engagement activity, to promote their interest, regarding NASA vision and mission. The award recipients may complete the activity prior to the actual award; else, the activity must be completed within six months following the scholarship award.
  2. Significant Renewable Investments
    The combined NASA Office of Education funding for tuition and fees is estimated at $15K. Other complementary Investment benefits include tutoring, academic enrichment opportunities, workshop on leadership development, and mentoring by peers, STEM faculty and graduate students, and STEM lectures. Award recipients are required to complete one internship rotation at a NASA center, during each calendar year of an award. For a rising senior student who completes such a rotation, NASA internship following the senior year is optional. A renewable scholarship award is transferable to a different academic institution in the U.S., provided all eligibility requirements are met. Due to current support by sources other than NASA Office of Education (OE), graduate students funded by the OE are not eligible for renewable scholarships.

For details on application to NIFS, visit the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI).

(A-1.2) NASA Space Academy

The NASA Academy offers an immersive and integrated multidisciplinary exposure and training, for students with various backgrounds and career aspirations of critical importance to the national aerospace program. The academic curriculum balances opportunities for direct contact with advanced science and engineering research and technology, and an awareness of the complex managerial, political, financial, social, and human issues faced by the current and future aerospace programs.

The national Space Grant Consortia’s co-sponsorship of the Academy assures recruitment of meritorious students from previously under-represented areas of the country, into leadership positions for aerospace programs of the future. The NASA Academy is a national educational, training, and research resource for college undergraduate and graduate students, dedicated to promoting current and future opportunities for innovation and leadership in aerospace-related careers. During their internship, the program participants receive broader exposure to NASA industry partners/collaborators via selected site visits to the partners and national laboratories.

View the participating NASA Academies and the online Academy application at the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative (OSSI).

(A-1.3) NASA Aeronautics Academy

The NASA Aeronautics Academy offers an immersive and integrated multidisciplinary exposure and training, for students with various backgrounds and career aspirations of critical importance to the national aeronautics and related disciplines program. The goal is to prepare the requisite workforce of young professionals for employment in aeronautics careers.

The Academy curriculum balances opportunities for direct experience in advanced science and engineering research and technology, and an awareness of the complex managerial, political, financial, social, and human issues faced by current and future aerospace programs. The national Space Grant Consortia’s co-sponsorship of the Academy assures recruitment of meritorious students from previously under-represented areas of the country, into leadership positions for aerospace programs of the future.

The Aeronautics Academy research associates receive training in integrated systems research, project management, leadership, teamwork and multidisciplinary collaboration. Participants of the Aeronautics Academy must be enrolled in aeronautical or aerospace engineering or related disciplines. The research associates work as groups of teams on multi-disciplinary and multi-faceted problems guided by professional scientists and engineers. Broader exposure to NASA’s industry partners is achieved by visits to the partners and national laboratories, during the internship.

(A-2.1) NASA Glenn Faculty Fellowship Program (NGFFP)

The NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) in Cleveland, OH, hosts a ten-week NASA Glenn Faculty Fellowship Program (NGFFP), during the summer months, for full-time science and engineering faculty members who are either tenured or on tenure-track positions at accredited U.S. universities and colleges. Selected faculty members engage in research projects that must be aligned with the research and technology needs of GRC, and have the potential to advance NASA mission.

(A-2.2) NASA Experimental Program to Simulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR)

Contact Dr. M. David Kankam for Glenn Research Center interface with the NASA Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR). The program provides funding to states of modest research infrastructure, to assist them with development of a more competitive research base within the qualified states. The states competitively award mini-grants to faculty in their affiliated academic institutions to conduct NASA mission-aligned research on campus.

(A-2.3) National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program

NASA initiated the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program, also known as Space Grant, in 1989. Space Grant is a national network of colleges and universities. These institutions aim to expand opportunities for Americans to understand and participate in NASA aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts. The Space Grant national network includes over 850 affiliates from universities, colleges, industry, museums, science centers, and state and local agencies. These affiliates belong to one of 52 consortia in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

The national Space Grant Consortia work closely with NASA field Centers, typically via the Cebter University Officers, in the placement of Consortia-funded students in NASA Center on-site internships opportunities and in linking affiliate faculty members with Center research personnel, where appropriate.

(A-3) NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP)

The NASA Postdoctoral Program (NPP) offers unique research opportunities to highly talented national and international scholars to contribute to ongoing NASA research programs at NASA centers, NASA Headquarters, or NASA-affiliated research institutions. These one- to three-year fellowship appointments are competitive and are designed to advance NASA missions in space science, earth science, aeronautics, space operations, exploration systems and astrobiology.

(B) Inactive Higher Education Programs

The following programs are either currently inactive or have been integrated into the new NASA Education Portfolio.

(B-1.1) NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP)

The NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) offered internship opportunities for undergraduate science, engineering and mathematics students at all nine NASA centers and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). These mentor-guided internships provided hands-on, real-life, career-related experiences which challenged, inspired, and provided practical applications to complement and expand upon students’ academic education.

Three internship sessions were offered per each calendar year: a 15-week spring session, a 10-week summer session and a 15-week fall session. Eligible applicants must be classified as sophomores, juniors or seniors by the start of their internship. The students must be U.S. citizens with academic majors or course concentration in engineering, mathematics, computer science, or physical and life sciences.

(B-1.2) NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP)

The NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP) awarded fellowships for graduate study leading to master’s or doctoral degrees in the fields of science, mathematics, and engineering aligned with NASA mission-related research, technology and development. This twelve-month award included a required minimum of 10-week internship hosted by the NASA center affiliated with the NASA-sponsored research. The award was renewable once for a master’s degree and twice for a Ph.D. degree.

(B-2) Programs for University /College Faculty

(B-2.1) NASA Exploration Systems Mission Directorate (ESMD) Faculty Fellowship Program

The purpose of the ESMD Higher Education Grants for full-time STEM faculty was to imbibe the participating faculty with exploration knowledge and skills-set required to help train and develop highly skilled future scientific, engineering, and technical workforce needed to implement the vision for space exploration.

(C) NASA Glenn Pathways Program

The NASA Glenn Pathways Program offers three types of opportunities to pursue a career in the government and at NASA. The first, for students, is similar to a co-op or federal internship and is called the NASA Pathways Intern Experience Program. The second program is offered for recent graduates (within the last two years of receiving a degree) and it is called the NASA Pathways Recent Graduate Program. The third is for qualifying individuals in an advanced degree program, or recently graduated from an advanced degree program and it is through the Presidential Management Fellowship Program. All of these new programs combine a student’s academic study (current or past) with a paid career-related work experience. The NASA Pathways programs consist of a series of planned work assignments combined with alternative periods of academic study (for interns) or training (for recent graduates and PMF participants) in the science, engineering, professional administration, and some trade fields. Student trainees will work under the guidance of qualified personnel performing duties directly related to the field for which they are being trained. While successful completion of the program (and graduation from their educations program for interns) are prerequisites for appointment to a career position, they do not necessarily guarantee such an appointment.

Glenn Educational Programs Office

There are a variety of other NASA Glenn education opportunities available through the Educational Programs Office (EPO) at NASA Glenn. Please visit the Glenn Education website.

Glenn Educational Programs Office Contact
Ms. Dovie Lacy, Chief
Tel: (216) 433-5163

Glenn University Programs Contact
Dr. M. David Kankam/Univ. Affairs Officer-GRC
Tel: (216) 433-6143 / Fax: -3687