The Mississippi Space Grant Consortium (MSSGC) is a statewide non-profit organization of institutions of higher learning coordinated by the Mississippi Research Consortium and supported by NASA.
The Consortium's mission is to enhance and support aerospace science and technology efforts and activities in Mississippi as well as promote a strong science, mathematics, and technology base at precollege, undergraduate, and graduate levels in the regions educational institutions.
The National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program was founded in 1989 by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to establish a network of universities with programs in aeronautics and other space-related fields, and to encourage recruitment and training of talented students, especially women and minorities, who will become professionals in the space sciences.
MSSGC was established in 1991 through an award by NASA to four Mississippi Universities: The University of Mississippi, Jackson State University, The University of Southern Mississippi, and Mississippi State University. Since its establishment, the MSSGC developed a plan to expand Space Grant activities to include all universities and community colleges in the state. In 1993, the MSSGC added eight new affiliate members, which include the four public regional universities and four of its fifteen community colleges: Alcorn State University, Delta State University, Mississippi University for Women, Mississippi Valley State University, Itawamba Community College, Pearl River Community College, Northeast Community College, and Coahoma Community College. In 1999, four new affiliates joined MSSGC: Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, Hinds Community College-Utica Campus, Mississippi Delta Community College, and Meridian Community College.
Space Grant affiliates sponsor a variety of information programs and conferences, summer instruction for teachers, and opportunities for fellowships and scholarships for graduate and undergraduate students in NASA-related, STEM fields. Each campus program is guided by a faculty campus coordinator and a team of faculty mentors. The Space Grant Programs are designed to match the needs of students with faculty strengths and departmental capabilities.
Program diversity and collaboration characterize the MSSGC. While each program's response to regional needs and opportunities creates an effectively diverse range of activities, MSSGC's strong network of communication and active collaboration propel this local success into a statewide system of sustained commitment to Space Grant goals for technological and human resource development. Of special importance to MSSGC members is the percentage of women and minorities who participate in Space Grant activities across all programs.
“Space Grant allowed me to develop professional skills and contacts that helped me get into graduate school, which in turn helped me obtain the job I have today and start my career at NASA.”
“The Space Grant allowed me to continue my studies without having to work two jobs. This allowed me to perform to my highest potential in classes.”
“Participation in the MS Space Grant lead to a career with the Naval Research Lab at Stennis Space Center.”
“The Mississippi Space Grant helped show me the importance of promoting STEM to young students. I remember the people who encouraged me to pursue a STEM career early in life, and it was very rewarding to help return the favor to the next generation of students. I really enjoyed helping out younger children and seeing the joy that STEM experiments brought them. It taught me better time management by requiring me to balance my graduate work while also preparing lessons to help out at a local school. I have also thought about becoming a professor later in my career, and this fellowship helped introduce me to teaching.”
“The MS Space Grant gave me experience outside of a classroom in a team setting that helped prepare me for employment. The MS Space Grant helped develop me professionally in ways that I do not believe possible solely in a classroom setting.”