GSA Connects 2021 in Portland, Oregon

Paper No. 200-6
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


BOWMAN, Catherine1, ELKINS-TANTON, Linda T.1, WILLIAMS, David1, HANDAL, Joshua A.2, MCCARTNEY, Gretchen P.3, MCLAURIN, Lindsay S.3 and VALENTINE, Karin1, (1)School of Earth and Space Exploration, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287, (2)NASA Headquarters, Washington, DC 20546, (3)NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA 91109

In mid-2022, NASA will launch an orbiter to (16) Psyche, a metal-rich asteroid that is hypothesized to be remnant core material from an early planetesimal (; The mission, led by Arizona State University, includes a Student Collaborations program comprised of four main elements that build upon the extensive foundation of education and public engagement expertise of NASA and mission partner institutions.

  • Psyche Capstone: Mission-focused capstone projects undertaken in existing university capstone courses nationwide.
  • Psyche Inspired: A virtual STEAM internship for undergraduates to share the mission through creative works.
  • Psyche Innovation Toolkit: Free online courses covering skills and knowledge critical to space exploration.
  • Science Outreach Interns and Docents: Undergraduates who help create content for and engage with K-12 students and lifelong learners.

These program elements offer multiple entry points and a range of intensity of experience, extent of interaction with the Psyche team, numbers of participants, disciplinary diversity, and mode of delivery. In the first four years of the program, Psyche Student Collaborations has worked closely with almost 900 undergraduates enrolled at 35 universities and community colleges in 19 states across dozens of disciplines in the arts, humanities, sciences, and engineering. The first two Innovation Toolkit online courses (Process & Lifetime of a Space Mission and Inclusive Mindset) have enrolled more than 2,500 learners, with additional courses in development. Undergraduate science outreach interns and docents have reached thousands of K-12 students, educators, and the public through school visits, tours, STEM events, and downloadable materials. Additionally, Psyche Student Collaborations supports public engagement, public affairs, and media relations team members at NASA, JPL, and partner institutions in the development of outreach products, public opportunities, web, social media, video products, and events. Involving undergraduates in all phases of the program supports the development of the next generation of explorers, contributes to the nation’s workforce preparation, and complements NASA’s existing offerings by providing long-term opportunities for participants to engage with the mission.