Education and Outreach: January 2011

NOTE: This email is for information gathering purposes. Willingness to participate in the SOI review does not guarantee a proposal will be assigned. The number of available qualified reviewers may exceed the number of reviewers needed.

NASA Research and Education Support Services (NRESS) is seeking persons to evaluate proposals submitted in response to the NASA Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) titled, "2011 Summer of Innovation Project" announced by NASA Glenn Research Center Office of Educational Programs on January 19, 2011. Specifically, NASA is interested in reviewers with expertise and experience in one or more of the following areas: education reform and policy, evidence-based summer learning programs, innovative and scalable program design, partnerships, grant management and/or federal education proposal review. NASA is seeking reviewers with various backgrounds and professional affiliation including Pre-K - 12 teachers and principals, college and university educators, researchers and evaluators, social entrepreneurs, strategy consultants, grant makers and managers, and others with education expertise.

Application Deadline: February 15, 2011

The American Philosophical Society and the NASA Astrobiology Institute have partnered to promote the continued exploration of the world around us through a program of research grants in support of astrobiological field studies undertaken by graduate students, postdoctoral students, and junior scientists and scholars.

The Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology supports field studies in areas of research related to astrobiology by graduate students, postdocs, and early-career scientists and scholars who are affiliated with U.S. institutions. Grants may be used for travel and related expenses, including field equipment, up to $5,000. Applications will be reviewed by a committee that includes members of the NAI, the APS, and the wider science community, as needed. Recipients will be designated as Lewis and Clark Field Scholars in Astrobiology.

Additional information, including the application forms and instructions, is available at the APS's Lewis and Clark Fund for Exploration and Field Research in Astrobiology website:

Abstract Submission Deadline: February 28, 2011
Participant Notification: April 4th, 2011

AbGradCon 2011 will be held at the Montana State University campus (Bozeman, MT) on June 4th-8th. Montana State University provides a unique setting for astrobiology graduate students and early career researchers to come together to share their research, collaborate, and network. Since it is organized and attended by only graduate students and post docs, AbGradCon is an ideal venue for the next generation of career astrobiologists to form bonds, share ideas, and discuss the issues that will shape the future of the field. Full funding is available for US applicants. Limited funding may be available for international students. For more information, please see Please send questions and concerns to

Dates: June 27 - July 1, 2011

Application Deadline: March 14, 2011

The ninth annual Summer School in Astrobiology, sponsored by the NAI and the Centro de Astrobiologia (CAB), will be held in Santander on Spain's Cantabrian coast. The topic of the School this year is "Mars Exploration: Unveiling a Habitable Planet."

The summer school includes a week of lectures presented by internationally distinguished researchers, round-table discussions, astronomical observations, and a half-day field trip. Students completing the school receive a UIMP Diploma in Astrobiology. On-site accommodations and meals are provided at the summer campus of UIMP, Universidad Internacional Menendez Pelayo, Santander. Lecturers will include David Des Marais of NASA Ames Research Center and Bethany Ehlmann of the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale, in Orsay, France.

Scholarships covering travel costs, school fees, accommodation and meals are provided by the NAI for approximately 10 students affiliated with US. institutions. Additional opportunities are available for students from other countries. For more information see

Application Deadline: February 15, 2011

Roger Summons, PI of the MIT NAI team, is planning a field trip to Shark Bay Australia from June ~11 - 19. Participants include Pieter Visscher (UConn), Joan Bernhard and Ginny Edgcomb (WHOI) and students from MIT and the University of NSW. They will be exploring the microbial diversity of subtidal stromatolites. The team could accommodate another one or two students wishing to participate in related research activities. They must have their own funding support, and should supply a short description of the research they plan to conduct to

The First Undergraduate Planetary Science Research Conference will be held on Sunday, March 6, 2011 from 9:00 am to 5:00pm, in association with the 2011 Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC), The Woodlands, TX.

The Conference includes:

* Panels on "How to Choose the Grad School Right for You," "Alternative Careers in Science," and "Women in Planetary Science;"
* Poster sessions where students will present their posters to other students and to the scientific community;
* "Meeting Mentors" who will pair students with a scientist for part of the LPSC meeting, so students can learn how to engage at a scientific conference;
* Opportunities to meet other undergraduate researchers, graduate students, and scientists.

Undergraduate students currently conducting research in planetary sciences, astrobiology and lunar sciences are eligible.

To apply, please go to: Applications are due: Close of Business, February, 1, 2011

Some travel support will be available to students who qualify. Priority will be given to students of diverse backgrounds. Students are encouraged to attend LPSC and the travel support includes registration for and participation in LPSC. For additional information, please contact Dr. Emily CoBabe-Ammann at This conference, the "Year of the Solar System" Undergraduate Planetary Science Research Conference is supported by the NASA Science Mission Directorate, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, and the NASA Astrobiology Program. [Source: NAI Newsletter]

Applications are now being accepted for the Achieving Competence in Computing, Engineering and Space Science project, also known as ACCESS. This 10-week, paid internship at NASA centers around the U.S. is designed for undergraduate and graduate students with disabilities.

Applicants should have strong backgrounds in science, a GPA of 3.0 or higher, and a desire to pursue technical careers. Students who are chosen will work with scientists and engineers in an area compatible with their skills and interests.

Applications for placement at NASA are due Feb. 11, 2011.

For more information, visit

Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to Laureen Summers at

Caltech's Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowships, or SURF, project introduces undergraduate students to research under the guidance of seasoned mentors at Caltech or NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Students experience the process of research as a creative intellectual activity and gain a more realistic view of the opportunities and demands of a professional research career.

SURF is modeled on the grant-seeking process. Students collaborate with potential mentors to define and develop a project and to write research proposals. Caltech faculty or JPL staff review the proposals and recommend awards. Students work over a 10-week period in the summer, mid-June to late August. At the conclusion of the project, they submit a technical paper and give a SURF Seminar Day oral presentation.

All application materials must be received no later than Feb. 22, 2011. For more information, visit

Please e-mail any questions about this opportunity to the Caltech Student-Faculty Programs office at

NAI has selected the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Special Programs Corporation to administer its Minority Institution Research Support (MIRS) program. The goal of the NAI MIRS Program is to help train a new generation of researchers in astrobiology and to increase diversity within the astrobiology community. For the past eight years, the program has provided opportunities for faculty members and students from minority-serving institutions to partner with astrobiology investigators.

"Providing new education opportunities for minority students will both enrich lives and answer a critical need for proficiency in science and engineering," NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. "But just as importantly, the program is an investment to cultivate imaginative thinking about the field of astrobiology."

The UNCF Special Programs Corporation will use its extensive database of 14,000 registrants to develop an online community to provide webinars, virtual training, and videoconferences, and provide outreach and recruitment for program participants. One of the program's main objectives is to engage more faculty from under-represented schools in astrobiology research and increase the number of students pursuing careers in astrobiology.

"Our nation's underserved populations are a tremendous resource on which we must draw, not just for science, but for everything we do," said Carl Pilcher, director of NASA's Astrobiology Institute. "We are extremely pleased that the NAI MIRS program will continue its contribution under the leadership of such a strong and experienced partner."

For more information: [Source: NAI Newsletter]

The Goddard Center for Astrobiology (GCA) Greenbelt, MD 20771

The 2011 Undergraduate Research Associates in Astrobiology Program is a 10-week program for undergraduate students interested in working with scientists whose research adds to the current body of astrobiology knowledge. Each research associate (RA) will participate in a specific research program, working directly with one of our Team scientists at Goddard Space Flight Center. The RA will work closely with the mentor to conduct a well-defined investigation, reduce data, and produce an end-of- program presentation. The presentation will demonstrate the knowledge gained over the course of the summer, and will be given in an oral forum during the last week of the program. As a group, the RAs will meet with a different GCA Team member each week to learn more about his/her respective area of research, and to gain a broader view of Astrobiology.

- Housing is paid for by the GCA and is provided by University of Maryland Resident Life
- Dates of Attendance are June 6, 2011
- August 12, 2011 (must be available for all 10 weeks)
- The stipend is $4,500 for ten weeks
- Research Associates are provided with computers and a workspace for the duration of the program
- Foreign National Students must obtained an OPT from their current US University
- The GCA does not sponsor Visas or OPTs.

Selection criteria for the Undergraduate Research Associates in Astrobiology include:

- A demonstrated enthusiasm and interest in Astrobiology
- Interest in scientific research
- Letters of reference from two Faculty members
- The Original Letter of Reference along with two copies should be sent under separate cover by your referrers to Corinne Eby (address is listed below)
- Overall academic quality (honors, awards, GPA, etc.)

Application form and more information