Education and Outreach

United Negro College Fund Selected to Administer NAI's Minority Institution Research Support (MIRS) Program

By Keith Cowing
January 11, 2011

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]

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻