Cross-Cutting Support Services

Spaceflight and Life Sciences Training Program (SLSTP)

CSS supported the exceptionally well acclaimed SLSTP internship program for high school students at the John F. Kennedy Space Center for 11 years. This science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) oriented program was one of the most successful of its kind and served more than 700 undergraduates, using 50 counselors (graduate students and academics), while providing teachers with hands-on research experiences through direct participation in NASA research, seminars, field trips, and leadership and diversity training. CSS staff designed and provided the day-to-day program support for the student activities, as well as for pre- and post-program activities with the SLSTP counselors. We collaborated with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (e.g., Florida A&M and Tuskegee University) to recruit and select student participants and to coordinate housing and transportation for the students and counselors during the program. The diversity of the SLSTP was exemplary: more than 30% of the participants were minorities (African American, Hispanic American, Native American and Asian American) and 50% were women. As part of the mentoring element of the program, CSS scientists and engineers delivered formal lectures, provided laboratory training and supervision, and mentored student participation on actual NASA research and technology testing projects. We also arranged for outside guest lecturers and provided local field trips to other federal science organizations, such as the National Park Service and the Smithsonian Institution, which conducted scientific studies on the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. In addition to individual student mentoring, we organized group scientific projects that were presented by the students at a formal seminar at the conclusion of each program, teaching them valuable lessons in communication skills and presentation techniques. We documented and delivered feedback on individual student performance, and we helped coordinate alumni meetings of past participants.