Sonja Alexander Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1761) Daniel Dowds QEM Network, Washington, DC (Phone: 202

/659-1818) RELEASE: 01-100

May 29, 2001

NASA PROGRAM OFFERS REAL-WORLD RESEARCH OPPORTUNITES FOR STUDENTS This summer, 200 high school students get to put their classroom studies to the test and get their hands on some real-world science research. NASA and the Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network selected the students as participants in the 2001 NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program, known as SHARP PLUS. Selected from more than 700 applicants, this year's apprentices represent 153 high schools in 32 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. The SHARP PLUS Program is a major strategy for increasing, strengthening, and diversifying the country's future pool of mathematics, science, engineering and technology majors and professionals. Although SHARP PLUS apprentices have excelled in mathematics and science courses, most students have not had the opportunity to apply this knowledge in a true research environment. To provide this experience, the Program links students to professional research scientists and engineers in university and industry settings. "SHARP PLUS creates an opportunity for students to work with professional researchers and gain hands-on experience in mathematics, science, engineering and technology," said Deborah Glasco, Program Manager, NASA's Education Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC. "If we seek to make a contribution to the rapidly changing laboratories of

tomorrow, we must support science initiatives that introduce and excite our youth today."

The students participate in hands-on research projects under the guidance of professional mentors and gain a better understanding of the discipline, responsibility and enjoyment associated with scientific research. Apprentices prepare papers on their research and formally present their findings at the conclusion of the Program. This Summer, from June 11 to Aug. 3, SHARP PLUS apprentices will reside on the campuses of 10 universities that have joined in partnership with NASA and QEM to implement the Program. In addition to research, the apprentices participate in a wide variety of enrichment activities organized by the host universities. These activities range from information sessions on math, science and engineering careers, to testtaking and computer skills workshops, to an overview of college admissions and financial aid procedures. Universities that will host the 2001 NASA SHARP PLUS students are: * * * * * * * * * * California State University, Los Angeles Cornell University, Ithaca, NY Hampton University, Hampton, VA Jackson State University, Jackson, MS North Carolina A&T State University, Greensboro, NC University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN Texas A&M University, College Station, TX University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

"SHARP PLUS sets high expectations for academic achievement and seeks to increase the participation and success rate of talented students from groups underrepresented in challenging mathematics and science courses at the pre-college level," said Shirley McBay, President, QEM Network, and SHARP PLUS Program Director.

The NASA SHARP PLUS Program is managed for NASA's Education Division by QEM Network, Washington, DC. QEM is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the education of minorities and other underrepresented groups. For more information and a complete list of students selected for the program, visit: http://qemnetwork.qem.org/sharpplus.html -end-