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Space Grant Success Stories
NASA Selects Arizona Proposal “ASCENDing Further” to Increase STEM Education at Community and Technical Colleges
One of the most effective vehicles for engagement of community college students in STEM activities in Arizona has been AZSGC’s ASCEND (Aerospace STEM Challenges to Educate New Discoverers) statewide workforce development program, in which teams of students from affiliate schools, including community colleges, design, build, fly, operate, and analyze payloads launched on high altitude weather balloons. We propose to expand ASCEND in four ways.
First, by increasing the number of balloon launches, we will be able to increase the number of community colleges participating. At the identified community colleges, we will build engineering or science courses around the ASCEND program,... Read more
PCC was one of the first two community colleges in Arizona to join the ASCEND! program in 2008. Most of our students are volunteers, and balance the demands of academics, work and family, to participate in this project. They have created innovative and dynamic payloads, including a clear, self-stabilizing cylinder and a winged torpedo, and have obtained fantastic images and video of near space. Student project design, testing, and implementation are mentored by Professor Mike Sampogna and analysis by Dr. Denise Meeks, who also maintains the PCC flight history website. Read more
Since joining AZSGC in 2008, SMCC has been phenomenally successful at using their involvement in the AZSGC ASCEND! (balloon sat) program to engage students, and ultimately reshape the college’s engineering program. ASCEND! began at SMCC as an extracurricular project for engineering students, and became a class in 2009. Ultimately, the popularity and effectiveness of the class led to a redesign of the engineering curriculum to emphasize on hands-on activities--in keeping with current educational theories--and student enrollment grew markedly.
As a result, beginning in 2010, Frank won the first of two Goodrich Foundation grants that facilitated upgrading the SMCC laboratory facilities... Read more
Glendale Community College students in Space Grant mentor John Schneeg's special-projects engineering class successfully built and launched a satellite prototype on a weather balloon through the Arizona Space Grant Consortium's ASCEND! program. Read more