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

/659-1818) RELEASE: 02-83

May 7, 2002

NASA PROGRAM OFFERS STUDENTS HANDS-ON RESEARCH OPPORTUNITIES For eight weeks this summer, 150 high school students from the across the country will have the opportunity to become part of campus- and industry-based teams conducting research related to NASA's mission. The students were selected from among more than 700 applicants to the 2002 NASA Summer High School Apprenticeship Research program, known as SHARP PLUS. The selected apprentices represent 119 high schools in 35 states, Guam, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The Sharp Plus Program, initiated in 1993, is a major strategy to increase, strengthen and diversify the nation's future pool of mathematics, science, engineering and technology majors and professionals. Although SHARP PLUS apprentices have excelled in mathematics and science courses, most 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. "NASA's vision of addressing the shortages of U.S. scientists and engineers that threaten our economy is the focus of this unique program," said Deborah Glasco, Program Manager, Education Division, NASA Headquarters, Washington. "By motivating students to pursue careers in science, mathematics, technology, engineering and geography through interaction with experienced researchers, we are developing a new generation of science and technology leaders to expand

the frontiers of air and space," Glasco explained. The students conduct research under the guidance of professional mentors and gain 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. "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, Quality Education for Minorities (QEM) Network, Washington, and SHARP PLUS Program Director. 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 mathematics, science and engineering careers, to test-taking and computer skills workshops, to an overview of college admissions and financial aid procedures. SHARP PLUS is administered for NASA by QEM Network, a nonprofit educational organization, in collaboration with universities across the country. The 2002 program runs from June 10 through August 2. More information on the program including a list of students selected and host universities is available at: http://qemnetwork.qem.org/sharpplus.html -end-