Science Activation Program, known as SciAct, is a collaborative network of competitively selected teams across the country. It brings NASA scientific experts and their expertise together with community leaders, scientists, and agency engineers to collaborate on science, energize new minds, and foster more in-depth exploration of our world and beyond.

According to NASA, for the next phase of science revitalization, the agency’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) has selected 9 new laureates, consisting of 21 people, who will join the network, receiving an extension to the program's next phase.

They will support disciplines such as Earth science, astrophysics, planetary science, and heliophysics, and the total funding for these studies is about $36 million.

Kristen Erickson, Director of Science Engagement and Partnerships at NASA Headquarters in Washington, noted: "Through innovative partnerships and networks, we're enabling learners of all ages and backgrounds to participate in the advancement of knowledge.

New awardees

  1. NASA's Neurodiversity Network (N3): Sonoma State University, Lynn Cominsky
  2. STEM Pathways for Native Americans: Bridging Native Knowledge of Earth and Sky with Traditional STEM Programming through the "Native Earth/Native Sky" Program (NENS): Oklahoma State University, Kathryn Gardner-Vandy
  3. Student Airborne Science Activation for MSI (SaSa): Ames Research Center, Charles Gatebe
  4. Cosmic Storytelling with NASA Data (CosmicDS): Harvard University, Alyssa Goodman
  5. SciAct STEM Ecosystems to Broaden Participation in Authentic STEM Learning: Connecting Subject Matter Experts, Communities, and Learners of All Ages (SciAct STEM Ecosystems): Arizona State University, Rae Ostman
  6. Planetary Resources and Content Heroes (ReaCH): Universities Space Research Association, Andy Shaner
  7. The NASA Community College Network (NCCN): SETI Institute, Simon Steel
  8. NASA SMD Community of Practice for Education (SCoPE): Arizona State University, Meenakshi (Mini) Wadhwa
  9. The Eclipse Soundscapes Citizen Science Project (ES: CSP): ARISA Lab L.L.C., Henry Winter

Attracting students on the autism spectrum to the STEM Program

NASA provided Sonoma State University (SSU) with $4.96 million to develop and implement NASA's Neurodiversity Network program.

According to SSU NewsCenter, the program aims to increase the number of students with autism and other learners with neurological disabilities in informal STEM learning. Neurodiversity Network will use dedicated learning modules to support autistic students with the social and technical skills they need to succeed in STEM careers.

Director of EdEon STEM Learning at SSU professor Lynn Cominsky noted that "NASA has done so much for every other demographic group, but this award is significant because research has shown how autistic learners can be so talented in STEM fields."