NASA hosts its 2021 STEM-a-Thon this week, a series of activities and engagements aimed at sparking interest in careers and broadening student participation in science, technology, engineering, and math.
The event highlights paths to careers at NASA and encourages students to pursue their interests in STEM. It offers live presentations, interactive Q&A sessions, and more, headlined by an informal chat with NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli.
The agency’s week of STEM engagements aligns with American Education Week, proclaimed by President Joe Biden to be celebrated Sunday, Nov. 14 through Saturday, Nov. 20.
“It’s critically important that we reach tomorrow’s explorers where they are today – in classrooms,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson “NASA needs a vast talent pool in order to accomplish its missions, including returning humans to the Moon. We’re grateful to everyone in education who work tirelessly to keep kids inspired and help them to see their own potential, and we’re excited to offer these events and activities during American Education Week.”
Live activities will round out the week, including a chat session between NASA astronauts currently in orbit aboard the International Space Station and Dallas-area students. NASA will also host a virtual road tour to share strategies and opportunities with historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs), and a STEM Stars en Español web chat exploring propulsion for missions to the Moon.
All times are provided in Eastern.
Tuesday, Nov. 16
Noon to 5 p.m. – NASA hosts its HBCU/MSI Technology Infusion Road Tour.
NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) in collaboration with its Office of Procurement and Office of Small Business Programs, designed this virtual, two-day event is designed to help HBCU and MSI administrators and faculty make the most of opportunities to build research capacity at their institutions. The event will highlight research opportunities, grants, fellowships, contracts within each of NASA’s mission directorates, and more. Attendees can register for the event online.
Wednesday, Nov. 17
10 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. – NASA hosts its 2021 BIG Idea Challenge Forum.
Seven university teams selected as finalists for the 2021 BIG Idea Challenge will present their original solutions to a pesky problem: lunar dust. Lunar dust’s highly abrasive particles pose dangers to astronaut health and can damage spacesuits, spacecraft, and habitats.
2 to 3:30 p.m. – Students can register to learn more about opportunities within NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement and Pathways internships in conjunction with the Technology Infusion Road Tour.
2 p.m. – STEM Stars en Español Highlights Propulsion Planning for Lunar Missions
In this live, webstreaming event presented in Spanish, “Inpulsando el cohete más poderoso del mundo” (“Fueling the most powerful rocket in the world”), Boeing technical lead engineer Eduardo A. López will explain his role in making sure the Space Launch System rocket is ready to send Artemis astronauts to the Moon. He’ll also share his STEM career journey, from his childhood in Mexico to his work on the propulsion systems of the most powerful rocket ever built. “NASA STEM Stars” en Español is part of a webchat series that connects students with subject matter experts to learn about STEM careers and ask questions about STEM topics.
Thursday, Nov. 18:
8 a.m. to 8 p.m. – The full-day, virtual “STEM-a-Thon: Explore Your Possibilities with NASA” event offers live presentations throughout the day, including a career panel, chats with NASA STEM experts, interactive science content, virtual tours, and more. Online registration is available for individuals as well as groups and organizations.
10 to 10:45 a.m. – NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli will hold a virtual fireside chat to discuss their career journeys and the impact today’s students will have on tomorrow’s missions. The chat will be accessible to those who register for the all-day STEM-a-Thon.
11:20 to 11:40 a.m. – NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei, Thomas Marshburn, and Kayla Barron, currently aboard the International Space Station, will participate in a chat with Dallas-area students. The downlink event will be broadcast on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.
Friday, Nov. 19:
NASA will release a Spanish version of its “First Woman” graphic novel titled “La primera mujer.” The book is NASA’s first digital, interactive graphic novel, released in English in September. It imagines the story of Callie Rodriguez, the first woman to explore the Moon. NASA en español highlights this and other Spanish-language information from the agency.
NASA OSTEM provides opportunities for the next generation of explorers to discover and hone the science, technology, engineering, and math skills needed for the agency’s bold exploration plans. For the latest NASA STEM events, news, and activities for students at any grade level, visit: