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MissionSTEM Summit 2016

NASA has awarded, and currently manages, approximately $1.5 billion in grants to traditional and non-traditional education institutions across the country, including universities and museums. With this money, these institutions conduct critical research for the agency, helping NASA make great strides in space exploration, technology development and Earth science.

But with this money also comes the responsibility of ensuring all students, faculty and staff have an equal opportunity to participate and succeed in these research programs, regardless of gender, race, age, ethnicity or disability. And, for federal agencies awarding grant funds comes the responsibility of evaluating compliance with the law and taking steps to address non-compliance.

NASA hosted its first MissionSTEM Summit on Aug. 8-9, 2016 at the agency’s headquarters in Washington, bringing together representatives and students from grantee institutions, federal and grantee civil rights compliance officials, and other experts from government, academia, industry and professional organizations.

Special guest speakers at the summit included NASA Deputy Administrator Dava Newman, Tina Tchen, assistant to President Obama and chief of staff to the First Lady, Jo Handelsman, associate director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation.

For two days, experts in civil rights compliance and education discussed best practices for ensuring equal opportunity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and exchanged ideas for tackling the challenges faced by grantee institutions and compliance officials. The summit helped to take NASA’s civil rights technical assistance efforts relating to STEM to a new level by:

  • Creating a forum in which to communicate NASA’s future workforce needs;
  • Sharing promising and emerging practices to help increase underrepresented and underserved populations at NASA and in STEM education and professions;
  • Helping federally-funded STEM education programs address current civil rights issues in academic environments, such as sexual harassment, implicit bias, and non-inclusive climates; and,
  • Assisting minority serving institutions in increasing participation in NASA business and grant opportunities, and education programs.

As a follow-up to the first Summit, NASA is developing a publication highlighting promising practices for equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion in STEM shared by the event’s participants.

Videos and Materials Related to the Summit

MissionSTEM Summit 2016 - Opening Session and Keynote Address
Day 1: Town Hall 1
Day 1: Town Hall 2
Day 1: Accessing NASA Contracts
Day 1: Accessing NASA Grants
Day 2: Increasing NASA Pipeline Diversity
Day 2: Making STEM More Inclusive
Day 2: Advancing Diversity Through Compliance
Day 2: Closing

Summit Program Guide
MissionSTEM Summit Program Guide (PDF)

Summit Summary
MissionSTEM Summit Summary (PDF)

Summit Presentations
MissionSTEM Summit Presentations (PDF 45MB)

Summit Promising Practices
MissionSTEM Summit Presentations (PDF 1.9MB)

For more information about NASA’s MissionSTEM initiative, visit:

+ No Fear Act
+ Privacy
+ Office of Inspector General
+ Agency Financial Reports


NASA Official: Steve Shih
Site Curator: Ronald Mochinski