Catalyst, a program of NC State’s Science House, creates STEM opportunities for high school students with disabilities. NASA is organizing a unique program in the spring of 2023 specifically for NC State Catalyst students. The program — which will include a trip to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas — will be led by Tracy Minish, mission control manager of the Johnson Space Center. Tracy, who is visually impaired, was one of Catalyst’s internship site supervisors, and he shares our passion for promoting students with disabilities in STEM careers. NASA aspires for 12% of its workforce to include people with disabilities.
The trip will include visits to research and training labs; hands-on STEM activities; meeting NASA STEM professionals with disabilities as role models and mentors; opportunities to learn about careers and educational pathways in STEM and NASA; and visits to Space Center Houston and the Lone Star Flight Museum.
Many of our Catalyst students are from low-income households, and this funding will support their flights and accommodations for the trip.
People with disabilities have many abilities and talents, yet 80% of people with disabilities between the ages of 24 and 64 are unemployed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor (https://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/disabl.pdf). Catalyst supports and empowers students with disabilities so they, too, can become part of an inclusive, diverse and innovative STEM workforce. 100% of Catalyst students go on to pursue STEM educational pathways.
Airline tickets: Approximately $600 round trip per student
Hotel: $6,404 (government rate for 22 rooms, two nights)
Charter buses to city museums, from/to airport and NASA: $3,000
Space Center Houston STEM program, tour and admissions: $2,360
Lone Star Flight Museum STEM program: $1,000
Participants will pay for their own meals; vocational rehabilitation will pay for staffing costs.
Funds will be placed in the Catalyst Program Support Fund. If the project does not meet its fundraising goal, exceeds the project need or cannot be completed, the funds will be used for the overall enhancement of the Catalyst Program Support Fund. Gifts are received by the NC State University Foundation, Inc. and may be distributed to an affiliated foundation that manages the fund supported by the donor.