Two SNU Students Participate in 2018 NASA Geospatial Summer Fellowship Program

Two Southern Nazarene University (SNU) students participated in the Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Geospatial Summer Fellowship and Symposium Program, held June 1st to July 14th, 2018. Biology major Tara Mabray and Environmental Studies major Patrick Kitzel, both SNU juniors, were selected from other science, technology, engineering and mathematics student applicants to participate in this year’s fellowship program.

The Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Geospatial Summer Fellowship and Symposium Program provides students with opportunities to explore the use of geospatial information science in higher education learning. Participants must be STEM majors, juniors, and in good standing with a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Tara Mabray noted how her learning in the program enriched her classroom studies and affected her future plans. “Though the majority of my previous studies have centered around a career in medicine, this fellowship was very informative,” said Tara. “Learning these new things was enough to make the whole fellowship worthwhile and introduced me to the amazing tool known as the Geographic Information System (GIS). Also it gave me a new insight & perspective on the cause-and-effect relationships that exist amongst different and unexpected areas, people, and elements of our world.”

Fellows participate in hands-on GIS and remote sensing training, webinars and a course project (total time estimate 96 hours), and study under the direction of Melissa Scott of the Center for Spatial Analysis at the University of Oklahoma. Upon completion of the program, students receive a laptop and stipend, valued at $2000. Patrick Kitzel praised the program: “The Geospatial Fellowship was a fantastic opportunity for me. I have been wondering which path I would like to take in terms of an environmental studies degree after undergraduate school. It was unknown to me what I wanted to go to grad school for, but thanks to the Geospatial Fellowship, I am now thinking seriously about going the geospatial route.”

Twelve fellowships are competitively awarded each year. One fellowship is awarded to a student at each of eight Oklahoma NASA Space Grant Institutions (OU, OSU, SNU, Cameron, Langston, SOSU, SWOSU, ECU). Four at-large fellows are awarded from the applicant pool to promote geospatial workforce development and diversity. This year, SNU was honored by one of the at-large fellowships.

The Geospatial Summer Fellowship is sponsored by the Oklahoma Space Grant Consortium (OSGC), a partnership of Oklahoma universities, corporate, and government entities that provide aeronautics, STEM, and space-related opportunities for participation in NASA’s mission directorates. SNU is the only private university participating in the OSGC. The partnership provides students opportunities to join internships with NASA and to visit NASA facilities around the country. SNU has been a member of the OSGC since 2002, with more than 120 financial awards made to students totaling more than $150,000.

Founded in 1899, Southern Nazarene University is a private, Christian, liberal arts university located in Bethany, Oklahoma and serving students in Tulsa as well as other locations throughout the state. SNU offers courses for both traditional students and working adults, including multiple master’s degree programs.

For more information about OSGC programs at SNU, contact Dr. Nicholas Zoller, Chair and Associate Professor of the Mathematics Department at 405-491-6651, or email For more information on Southern Nazarene University, visit or call 1-800-648-9899