NASA funds CSUSB programs

By Kara DeMent |Staff Writer|
        Students at CSUSB have been given the opportunity to look at life in a different light, the light through NASA’s looking glass.

       NASA has awarded CSUSB with a $450,000 grant that will support science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs on campus.

       The STEM programs that will be funded include science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs here at CSUSB.

CSUSB is one out of four universities nationwide that have received this award, according to a press release.
The grant serves to help the development of new courses and curriculum for the STEM programs as well as provide paid internships to those who have engineering and physics majors. It also covers the research and supplies that are used to help students who have applied to be a part of the NASA grant and its funding.
“Having one-on-one interaction with NASA is one of the many opportunities that the NASA grant offers CSUSB and its students,” said Timothy Usher, CSUSB physics professor and principle leader of the program.
Students and faculty will experience the culture of NASA and learn skills that NASA employees sustain throughout their careers, according to the release.

       Currently at CSUSB there are four physics majors: Abraham Garcia, Victor Jimenez, Holly Murphy and Earl Smith, who have applied for an internship through the NASA grant that gives them the ability to work on specific research topics.

       Two main research topics that are being funded under the grant deal with fuel cell membranes and organic ferroelectrics. Murphy and Garcia are working on the fuel cell membranes research while Jimenez and Smith study organic ferroelectrics.

“I’ve gained so much research experience and have learned a lot of work ethic and what it means to stay on track of things. I’ve also gained a better sense of my research topics and can take what I’ve learned from this and apply it to work in my classes,” said Murphy.

       NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center also works within the NASA Grant given to CSUSB and offers summer internships for students who are funded under the grant.

       Dryden’s technical advisor, Kurt Kloesel, comes in about once a week to work with the students on their projects and helps guide them in the right direction towards success, said Usher.

       The students feel like the grant is setting them up for success after college.

       “Working in a lab gives me the physical aspect of what I’m doing in class and helps me apply the things I’ve learned to class projects as well,” said Smith.

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