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About Mission STEM

NASA, like many Federal agencies, has obligations under civil rights laws intended to ensure equal opportunities in programs receiving Federal dollars. The MissionSTEM Web site is designed to assist programs and activities receiving NASA funding to meet their obligations under equal opportunity laws.

NASA awards approximately 1.5 billion dollars a year in Federal financial assistance, much of it in the form of grants for research and development, as well as Space Act and cooperative agreements. NASA currently has approximately 700 recipients, many of whom receive multiple grant awards annually. The Agency funds a wide variety of different kinds of recipients, from university and college STEM programs, to science centers, museums, and planetariums, to scientific research institutes, corporations, and consortiums.

Students working at NASA computers at Federal agencies awarding grants such as NASA are obligated to take steps to ensure that their recipients are not discriminating and are offering equal opportunities to their program beneficiaries, such as students or patrons of cultural institutions. Like other agencies awarding grants, NASA has its own civil rights regulations under Title VI of the Civil Rights of 1964 and related laws prohibiting discrimination by recipients, such as Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as well as its own guidelines, policies and procedures for implementing the law’s requirements. These include, for example, procedures for conducting compliance reviews of recipients to evaluate civil rights compliance.

Through MissionSTEM, NASA has broadened the reach of our civil rights technical assistance to our many grantees. As an integral component of NASA's civil rights compliance and technical assistance efforts, the site augments the Agency's ongoing civil rights compliance reviews of our grant recipients.

NASA continues to work with our grantees to pursue innovative ways to increase access to and interest in STEM fields. Along these lines, an important feature of MissionSTEM is our video series and virtual sessions, covering topics of interest and concern for our grantee institutions, their beneficiaries and other stakeholders. These include our Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Series, our online learning tool on implicit bias in STEM environments, and our series on how NASA innovations impact the world. These series and tools seek to address common challenges through the active involvement of our NASA leadership and subject matter experts, as well as leadership and experts from your respective communities. We also continue to highlight and emphasize the many promising practices of our grant recipients and stakeholder organizations for creating greater diversity and inclusion in STEM.

We believe that through an ongoing collaborative effort, MissionSTEM has been and can continue to be a powerful tool for helping to realize the benefits of our shared interests in STEM excellence, equal opportunity, diversity and inclusion.

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NASA Official: Steve Shih
Site Curator: Ronald Mochinski