UC Riverside Students Training at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Ten students from UC Riverside will have internships at JPL thanks to a $4.5 million grant from NASA

students in front of JPL sign

Most of the students who will interning at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory this summer through the FIELDS program.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. (www.ucr.edu) — Ten University of California, Riverside students will have internships at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) this summer thanks to a $4.5 million grant the university received last year from NASA.

The grant will also allow 22 high school students from Riverside Unified School District to take a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) class at UC Riverside this summer.

The University of California, Riverside received the NASA grant to develop research, education, training and collaborative opportunities in big data and visualization.

The five-year research project, called “Fellowships and Internships in Extremely Large Data Sets” (FIELDS), will train underrepresented minority students in STEM fields to address a critical shortfall in the workforce essential for future NASA missions. Bahram Mobasher, a professor of physics and astronomy, is the grant’s principal investigator.

Students participating in the research project will be underrepresented minorities at all educational levels, with undergraduate students being selected from physical, biological, computer science and engineering disciplines at UC Riverside and partner institutions – all Hispanic-serving institutions such as UC Riverside – nationwide.

Each undergraduate intern will spend 10 weeks at JPL during summer for two years and receive a stipend of $6,000 each year. At the end of the summer, the UC Riverside students who continue their research at the campus under a UC Riverside faculty or JPL science staff will receive $3,000 during the academic year.

The 10 UC Riverside students selected are: Samantha Annamraju, Brandy Coats, Nelson Garcia, Jesse Mendoza, Jasmine Moreno, Sirina Nabhan, John Pham, Joshua Rubio, Sunaina Santhiveeran and Brittany Seto. There are also nine students from other colleges and universities participating.

“These internships are invaluable because they teach research skills and also teach the students how to leverage the opportunity for future career aspirations,” said Reynal Guillen, UC Riverside’s program manager for the FIELDS program.

The grant was made through the 2014 Education Opportunities in NASA Science, Technology, Engineering and Math NASA research announcement for the establishment of MUREP Institutional Research Opportunity (MIRO) centers. MIRO awards promote STEM literacy and enhance and sustain the capability of institutions to perform NASA-related research and education.

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