SNU Students Participate In NASA Space Grant Programs

BETHANY, OK (September 25, 2013) - Four Southern Nazarene University science students recently participated in NASA Space Grant summer programs. Participants conducted research that they will present at the Geospatial Summer Fellowship Symposium, to be held at the University of Oklahoma this fall. Applicants from eight Oklahoma NASA Space Grant institutions were selected competitively and awarded a stipend for participation.

Two of this summer’s participants learned to work with spatial analysis software, called ArcGIS, before applying the new information to their areas of interest. Erin Velders and Rachel Rindom were selected to complete the Geospatial Summer Fellowship Program, a program designed to allow students to encounter geospatial information science in a higher education context through interactive, hands-on learning.

Rachel, a sophomore biology-chemistry major, examined the different ways ArcGIS can be used in the study of epidemiology. Erin, a senior science education major, also applied her new knowledge of ArcGIS to her field of interest, choosing to investigate demographic factors that can influence ACT scores, like median household income and crime rate. Erin noted that she : “learned a lot about how versatile GIS is. You can use GIS with just about anything, so that makes it a great tool for a wide range of businesses, schools, and the state.” 

Two additional students, Benjamin Siems and Rachel Atnip, participated in the Mission to Planet Earth summer teacher workshop, a second NASA Space Grant program. The goal of this workshop is to prepare future elementary and secondary education teachers to effectively and engagingly impart aerospace content in the classroom. Upon completion of the workshop, students travel to Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX, to attend informational seminars concerning the importance of teaching aerospace in schools. 

Summer experiences like these NASA Space Grant programs allow SNU students to enhance their college preparation with both academic and hands on experience, making them better candidates for field or graduate work. SNU also collaborates externally for internships in the sciences and SNU science students also take advantage community-based research opportunities at the University of Oklahoma’s main campus, the OU Health Sciences Center, and the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation. These partnerships expose students to real-world experiences that bring them into contact with the professional community. 

Southern Nazarene University's mission is to transform lives through higher education in Christ-centered community. As a Christian community of scholars, we model the hospitality of grace, the pursuit of truth and the practice of discipleship, all within the Wesleyan-holiness tradition, as we prepare graduates who THINK with clarity, ACT with integrity and SERVE with purpose.