Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Fairmont State's growing partnership with the NASA Space Grant and NASA IV&V Facility has now expanded to include FS students who have taken on roles as NASA Space Grant Scholars and NASA IV&V Research Concepts Transfer to Higher Education student researchers.

The NASA Space Grants Scholars program provides students with research opportunities across the country and abroad. Funded by the NASA West Virginia Space Grant Consortium, the program involves students from a wide variety of disciplines. This year five students were selected for the program from a field of 16 applicants by Dr. Roger Wilson, Assistant Professor of Information Services at Fairmont State University and Director of the FSU/NASA Space Grants Program. The students spent their spring break in Ohio on a tour that took them to the NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, the Glenn Research Center's Plumbrook Station in Sandusky and the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force at Dayton. Also, during spring break, Dr. J. Robert Baker took his eight Honors English students to England to visit space-related facilities there.

Wilson said the students were able to spend close to five hours at Plumbrook.

"This was kind of a once in a lifetime experience for these students," he said.

When the NASA Space Grants Scholars return from their trip they share their exposure with the community, speaking to high school students and to members of local civic clubs.

"The purpose of the program is to get the community to know what NASA is all about," Wilson said.

Space Grant Scholar Courtney Russell, a sophomore majoring in information systems, said being part of the program has been both exciting and educational.

"Few people have the opportunity to see and learn about the inner workings at NASA. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Wilson for allowing me to be part of the team," Russell said.

The NASA IV&V Research Concepts Transfer to Higher Education student researchers are working to build research programs at institutions of higher learning. Wilson and FS faculty members Don Tobin, Tracie Dodson, Gaylen Hansen, Yi Wang and Gene Turchin work alongside these students as a team.

Student researcher James W. Mou said being a part of this team has been a life-changing experience that has provided him with the essentials in building a strong and lasting career.

"It's been a very educational experience. I've learned a lot about NASA and how to transfer their concepts to higher education," Mou said. "It's a great experience that I would recommend to anyone."

Brad Ullman said he appreciates the opportunity to work with fellow researchers James Mou and Jake Brozenick.

"It's great to work with a team such as this one, and I can't say enough about working with Dr. Wilson outside of the classroom. All three of us have learned an extraordinary amount from him through this project," Ullman said.