NASA Names Colorado Mesa University an Emerging Research Institution with Inaugural Grant

Grand Junction, Colorado (February 29, 2024) —

The new partnership between NASA and CMU offers a unique research opportunity for undergraduate students.

This February, a new, out-of-this world partnership was launched at Colorado Mesa University (CMU). The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced CMU will receive a portion of a $3.7 million dollar grant that supports emerging research institutions.

CMU, which values its position as a teaching university, is unique in that it also provides undergraduate students the chance to get hands-on research experiences that are typically only offered to those in graduate programs. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Bridge Seed Program is one such opportunity. In a press release put out by NASA, the agency’s Senior Advisor for Engagement Shahra Lambert said initiatives like the bridge program, and partnerships like the one with CMU, are created to continue to build relationships and provide “the best and brightest talents in our nation” access to NASA in order to “develop a diverse and capable workforce to further our understanding of the cosmos.”

This program allows CMU students to explore collaborative research that will result in meaningful relationships with the agency, including access to mentorships and employment opportunities within NASA’s workforce.

“I’m extremely excited that NASA has given us the opportunity to build and lead a unique multi-institutional STEM undergraduate research and education consortium out of CMU. By continuing to build our program with NASA Glenn Research Center and including other CMU faculty research, we hope to create even more opportunities for students interested in graduate STEM study or NASA/aerospace-related careers in the near future,” said Assistant Professor Physics Jarrod Schiffbauer, PhD.

The bridge program is a yearlong, two summer, paid research opportunity starting Summer 2024. The research collaborations will focus on complex fluids and soft matter. During the academic year, students will meet remotely with research partners at New Jersey Institute of Technology, Florida International University and NASA Glenn Research Center. Summer 2025 students will spend about 10 weeks at one of the partner institutions working on a research project.

 

From Grand Junction, Colorado to Outer Space

The aerospace and aviation industry continues to grow within Colorado’s Grand Junction area, the largest metropolitan region between Denver and Salt Lake City. With Colorado Mesa University’s designation as an emerging research institution, this will be the second time in less than a year that the community has garnered recognition from NASA. In December 2023, Grand Junction’s SG Aerospace & Gas was honored by NASA for their contributions to the Artemis I project. Contracted by Lockheed Martin as a premier manufacturer for NASA’s Orion Space program, SG Aerospace provided application specific components that resided on the spacecraft as it successfully launched in 2022.

“With our highly skilled team, we have learned to navigate the terrain and create rural-to-urban business production that is precision quality at a better value than in larger cities. We are lucky to be near, and hire from, the fastest growing university in the state – Colorado Mesa University, “stated Mike Sneddon, President of SG Aerospace & Gas. The company’s commitment to nurturing local talent through Colorado Mesa University, and actively participating in regional economic partnerships emphasizes its dedication to fostering growth within this emerging community.

Colorado Mesa University and SG Aerospace are among the partners propelling the region’s aerospace industry forward through their involvement in initiatives through NASA, the Colorado Space Business Round Table, and the Grand Junction Economic Partnership.

As the aerospace industry extends its reach, Grand Junction stands at the forefront, embodying the spirit of limitless potential. For those seeking to join this transformative journey and explore opportunities within the Grand Junction area, the door is open, beckoning toward a future where the sky truly is just the beginning.

For more information on business development in the Grand Junction area and opportunities to partner with innovative companies, please contact matt@gjep.org or call 970-245-4332.

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