C. Lacy Thompson
Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Miss.
ASTRO CAMP Team At Stennis Reaches Out To Children Of Migrant Workers
The ACCP team partnered with the Yuma School District to virtually reach 595 Hispanic children of migrant worker families. The partnership program provided sessions for campers starting June 6 and continued support through four weeks of camps ending July 16. Plans call for the ACCP program activities to be continued by the Yuma School District throughout the school year.
“The inclusion of the Yuma School District was part of the mission 2021 goal to reach the underserved and underrepresented groups in rural communities,” said Maria Lott, the NASA ACCP project lead at Stennis. “The Yuma group was very enthusiastic about having the opportunity to engage their students with NASA.”
“With the virtual camps, ASTRO CAMP activities have transcended geographic boundaries and allowed broad-reaching community participation,” Lott added.
The outreach effort was possible thanks to a partnership with Yuma School District and an existing Arizona state-operated and federally funded program. Arizona’s program helps fund Migrant Education Programs supporting educational agencies providing services to students of migratory workers.
The Arizona program offers numerous benefits, such as adult education, family outreach, in-home support, language and cultural training, STEM/STEAM programs, out-of-school youth intervention, preschool programming, student leadership opportunities, and summer and extended day programming, as well as its newest service, NASA ACCP virtual camps.
Students at multiple locations simultaneously participated with staff in highly engaging STEM educational activities. ACCP includes NASA’s Science Mission Directorate activities on astrophysics, Earth science, heliophysics, planetary science and NASA’s NextGen STEM Moon to Mars initiative.
Liz Miranda-Lomeli, the Migrant Summer ASTRO CAMP director, describes the student’s opportunity as an “unforgettable experience.” She added, “This program is an inspiration for students to pursue future career paths in engineering and science.”
In addition to the Arizona effort, ACCP which is a part of the NASA Science Mission Directorate’s Science Activation Network reached communities far beyond the traditional local population with this year’s activities. The team has a strong history of developing engaging curriculum, including the ASTRO CAMP methodology, then reaching out to communities using existing summer programs and sometimes establishing new programs altogether.
The reach of the NASA ASTRO CAMP program is nationwide and beyond with the latest virtual camp service offered to collaborative partners. In 2021, the program was provided at over 135 locations throughout the United States, extending from Maine to Florida and across the continent to California and Alaska. The most recent activity report also includes four international collaborators.
Looking ahead, the ACCP team continues to look for new ways to broaden the reach of NASA ASTRO CAMP activities. This summer’s virtual camp’s success is a key example of how those efforts are paying off.
C. Lacy Thompson