INSGC - Indiana Space Grant Consortium

Spring 2014 Newsletter

Director's Notes Spring 2014

INSGC Director’s Notes, June 2014

Partnering Up


At a recent planning meeting for K-12 STEM education programs, several people were involved in a discussion of where to do a summertime weekend event for encouraging teacher involvement and STEM activity.  A suggestion rose from the group:  We can do it at the Indiana Statehouse!


“No,” our state government person lamented.  “Too many weddings.”




It’s not just that May, June and July are popular times for people to decide on formalizing a partnership, it’s that the building, as a public setting, is relatively inexpensive to rent (if you can find a suitable date—how does 2017 sound, dear?).  Over the past few weeks, I have come to recognize how important these factors can be in finding partners: good combinations, auspicious timing, the right location, appropriate motivation…  No, I’m talking about Space Grant.


During the past year, all three members of INSGC Central Office have attended planning and partnering meetings of various state-level groups involved in improving STEM education, both during and out of school time.  Without meaning to ignore anyone, let me focus on three: the STEM Action Coalition, the Indiana Afterschool Network, and the Indiana Girls’ Collaborative. All three groups have common themes, common elements – and a number of the same people, which means an idea from one discussion can migrate and morph into another one, with a different collection of partners.  This is how it happens that I had come to spend more time with people like Reginald McGregor of Rolls-Royce, René Hankins of Ivy Tech Wabash Valley, Bev Bitzegaio of Indiana State University, and others. 


At the Indiana Summit on Out-of-School Learning held at the JW Marriott on Monday, March 17, Reginald hosted a panel session of industry and community foundation representatives, who spoke about the concept of “collective impact”: the integration of different stakeholders with common interests, working together to more effectively undertake projects that would be difficult, or inefficient, to complete alone.   On Wednesday of that week, I had the opportunity to meet with others from Ivy Tech, several INSGC affiliates, and others at Bev’s Indiana Girls Collaborative Project meeting.  I found out about a FIRST robotics team mentored by one of Bev’s students at Indiana State, who had just competed well in the Indiana Crossroads FIRST Regional Competition the week before.  (More about that later.)  At both events, I was able to speak to Congresswoman Susan Brooks, who had met with Dawn earlier (during our update meetings with Congress in their home districts)


Later that same week, NASA announced something that we had been hoping to hear about for months: a solicitation for Space Grant partnerships with Community Colleges to help improve STEM degree completion, workforce preparation and placement, and transfers to four-year programs by students currently working on their Associate’s Degree.  Because of our prior interactions, INSGC was instantly ready to go, bringing together a team from four Ivy Tech regional campuses, two Vincennes campuses, and a number of interested industry partners.  The term “unprecedented” is often overused, but I am willing to use it here—it was only in January that Ivy Tech announced its statewide reorganization, making this sort of collaboration feasible in a way that we have not had before.  (In fact, I noted that we said that we would work on more collaborations with Ivy Tech in our five-year award proposal… written in 2010.)  It’s not just timing, but recognition and some familiarity, that allowed me to contact folks like René, Brad Bishop from OrthoWorx, Jeremy Eltz from the Indiana Department of Education, and others to help put together a team and a concept for the proposal, known as the INSGC Community College Partnership (INCCP). 


So, since that third week in March… it became clear that Reginald’s ideas and connections and passion made him an easy choice to become a new member of our INSGC Advisory Board.  Even before receiving the formal invitation, Reginald has made substantial contributions to our thinking and efforts at Affiliates Meetings, and Advisory and INCCP planning teleconferences. 


Bev’s student contacted me after her FIRST Team qualified for the FIRST Championships, held in St. Louis at the end of April.  INSGC was able to help support that team, and four other Indiana teams, who qualified for the Championships by qualifying at the Crossroads and/or Boilermaker Regional competitions.  (And, just to mention another connection, both Reginald and continuing INSGC Advisory Board member Jordan Lee are FIRST Judges.) 


Last week, I was able to attend a university / industry partnership discussion hosted by OrthoWorx in Warsaw, at the Orthopedic Capital Center.  (For those who didn’t know, 1/3 of the world’s volume of orthopaedic implants and associated materials are processed in, or through, Warsaw, IN.  Talk about a ripe partnership opportunity.) 


And last night, I was able to complete the final submission of the INCCP proposal.  The proposal required Space Grant Director and Affiliate concurrence, so there were emails from over 20 of our existing affiliates.  Letters indicating “statements of collaboration” were received from Vincennes and four Ivy Tech regions—signed by regional Chancellors.  (I even met one, Jerrilee Mosier of Ivy Tech Northeast, at the OrthoWorx partnership event.)  Additional letters came from OrthoWorx and the IDOE, and professional development comes from Sonny Kirkley’s WisdomTools (from down in Bloomington), expanding on their work currently underway in the South Bend schools.  Now that is truly a partnership with the potential for collective impact.


This is what happens when people start to spend time together.  Relationships develop.

Where Are They Now? -- Sarah St. Clair

We caught up with Sarah St. Clair, 23, one of Indiana Space Grant Consortium's scholarship recipients in 2009. She graduated in May 2013 with a Bachelor of Science in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from Purdue University, and has since moved to Marina del Ray, California. Sarah is currently working for SpaceX as a Technical Writer and Quality Engineer.

Her duties include coordinating and conducting effort for efficiently meeting contractual or internal requirements at SpaceX, performing internal audits, and managing performance metrics. In regards to her promising career, Sarah said "Continual learning and growth in a way that adds value to the company at which I work is central to any future career plan. I am excited for the upcoming breakthroughs in commercial spaceflight and the opportunities that it will present. As I further grow and develop in my career, I strive to be continuously involved in programs on the West Coast, hopefully even nation wide, that are aimed at advancing public interest and involvement in the STEM fields."

We asked Sarah how the scholarship has affected her in the long run with her career and all she hopes to achieve. "The INSGC scholarship was a key component in propelling me towards the career and company of my dreams. It opened doors to meeting and networking with people integral to my personal and professional development with whom I may not have crossed paths. their vision led me to a greater awareness of the core value of STEM outreach programs, which provided momentum for my involvement in such programs in coordination with Purdue Space Day, Society of Women Engineers, and the Women in Engineering Program at Purdue. It has been an honor to work with this organization and its representatives in their community-focused goals. Success, regardless of how it is defined, stems from motivation, direction, and ideas; INSGC was central to my development of these. May this positive influence spread to those with whom I interact."

We wish Sarah all the best in her future endeavors!


Indiana K-12 Project on the International Space Station

SSEP Student Spaceflight Experiments Program

On Sunday morning, 8:05 EST AM, Orbital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft successfully connected to the International Space Station, and marks the first of eight cargo missions to be fulfilled under Orbital’s contract with NASA. The Cygnus spacecraft launched on January 9, 2014 at 1:07pm from Wallops Island, Virginia, atop one of Orbital Sciences Antares rockets and aligned itself with the International Space Station to board the station on Sunday.

A total of 744 proposals were submitted representing 3080 students. After a 2 step review process on all proposals, 11 Student Spaceflight Experiments were selected for this mission and aboard the Oribital Sciences’ Cygnus spacecraft.

Of the 11 selected experiments on SSEP Mission 4 to the ISS, one of them pertains directly to Indiana. Students in grades 6 & 8 at Avicenna Academy in Crown Point, Indiana created an experiment titled “The Effect of Microgravity on the Development of the Salamander.” The experiment involves sending ten fertilized salamander eggs to the ISS and allowing them to grow and develop in an environment with microgravity, departing from the ISS and observing any abnormalities or differences from salamanders that have developed and grown on Earth.

For more information on the experiments of SSEP Mission 4, please visit:

For any other information on Orbital Science’s Mission Updates, please visit:

Where Are They Now?

Along with our featured scholarship recipient, here is a list of some others that have used INSGC as a stepping stone for their promising careers in STEM education.

Michael Zwach

Received a scholarship from INSGC for his undergraduate funding in 2008, 2009, and 2011.

Michael now works as a Program Manager of Special Projects Div for Deep Space Industries to developed space technologies. He is also a contractor at NASA Ames year round, is still enrolled in a current degree program, and is chair of SEDS.


Justin Goeglein

Received a scholarship from INSGC for his undergraduate funding for the 2009-2010 academic school year.

He is now a Hybrid Controls Engineer at an Electric Car Company in Detroit, MI.

The Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI)

Students, who engage in undergraduate research, get the opportunity to enhance their education through in-depth knowledge in specific disciplines while learning how to utilize advanced equipment along with working with faculty who can serve as academic mentors. The student-faculty relationship provides numerous benefits such as academic mentoring, letters of recommendations, etc… Undergraduate students can sharpen their research abilities and become independent, self-motivated scholars.

Besides the applied knowledge aspect, student participants get the opportunity to earn college credit and/or be paid while conducting research. Research experience is a great addition to a student’s resume and can be a critical factor for those who plan on pursuing Graduate school.

Interdisciplinary research provides a meaningful way in which participants can apply the knowledge learned in one contextual frame as a knowledge base in other frames in and out of school.

The Discovery Park Undergraduate Research Internship (DURI) program is specifically designed to involve undergraduates in the interdisciplinary research environment of Discovery Park.

The conception of the idea of Discovery Park was set in 2001 with a $5 million commitment from the state of Indiana for a center that deals with nanotechnology advancement. Today, Discovery Park is a $600 million research and learning complex that engages more than 4,000 faculty members and students who are tackling the grand challenges facing society today by using an interdisciplinary approach. Challenges can range from that of curing cancer, optimizing delivery of healthcare services, to that of fueling a competitive edge for manufacturers within the state of Indiana.

The DURI program provides numerous opportunities for undergraduate students to work with faculty affiliated with Discovery Park on research projects that involve the combination of two or more disciplinary strengths. By establishing a faculty relationship, students get the opportunity to experience what interdisciplinary research consists of in an entrepreneurial environment.

To gain entry into the DURI program is competitive. DURI has a set amount of 50 part-time (6-10 hrs/week) student internships slots per academic semester. Potential participants are required to have at least a Cumulative GPA of 3.0 and must be a Sophomore, Junior, or Senior. Students from all majors are encouraged to apply.

For additional information:

Here are a couple of archived DURI projects:

- “Visualizing and Mining Large Social Computing Dataset to Uncover the Social Structure of Online Collaboration” (Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Programming, Social Science, Social Interaction)
- “Biowall Commercialization” (Manufacturing)
- “Geo-Referencing & Map layer development” (Archaeology, Agronomy, GIS, Computer Science”
- “The Role of the Amygdala in the Risk of Eating Disorders” (Psychology, Women’s Global Health Institute, Eating Disorders)
- “Predicting Modeling for the Risk of Medically Unnecessary Readmission to Acute Care” (Statistics, Healthcare Engineering)

For additional list of projects:

Lisa Kirkham, Project Coordinator for the Discovery Learning Research Center, stated that approximately 70% of participants are pursuing STEM related degrees while 30% of participants are pursuing a non-STEM related degree. Approximately 55% of the participants are male while 45% of the participants are females. 54% of the students are classified as international students while 46% of students are classified as domestic students. [Based off of 2012 DURI data]

The success of the DURI program has created parallel structures within the fields of cancer prevention, high-tech startup companies and the College of Liberal Arts.

The Cancer Prevention Internship Program (CPIP) is a National Cancer Institute funded program that provides support and curricular activities for undergraduate and graduate students, with the objective of harnessing and training researchers in the area of cancer prevention. The program’s objective lies in supporting research activity and to provide educational/research opportunities that will foster student’s interests in maximizing their academic abilities to promote cancer prevention research. The CPIP is an interdisciplinary program that provides support for four graduate fellowships and ten undergraduates to participate in the internship program.  The program incorporates not just scientists but anthropologists, commincations experts, health physiologists, and others who can contribute to the examination of the complexities of cancer prevention.  In addition to the academic internship, students participate in a community service component to aid the community in cancer prevention awareness.

For additional information:

The Interns for Indiana (IFI) is a program that implements an ingenious approach to retaining Indiana’s college graduates in Indiana. The program emphasizes high-tech startup companies and allows highly qualified students to help respective companies with growth development while allowing the student to gain valuable educational experiences.  The experience gained from the program allow students to gain an increased understanding of what entrepreneurship consists of and allows for students to be more aware of job opportunities in the state of Indiana, while promoting the growth rate of their respective company.  "93% of company parters report growth".

For additional information:

The Margo Katherine Wilke Undergraduate Research Internship (Wilke) is a program that is designed to involve College of Liberal Arts undergraduates to participate in interdisciplinary research. The program allows students to work closely with faculty in the College of Liberal Arts on research that is related to the arts, humanities, and social sciences. Students get to experience the thrill and challenges of research whose objective is to promote social impact across the world. Wilke, similarly to DURI, offers 50 part time (6-10 hours/week) student internships per academic semester.

For additional information:

Contact References:
- DURI – Lisa Kirkham, Project Coordinator,
- IFI – Monica Shively, IfI Sustainability Coordinator,
- Wilke – Stephanie Matos Ayala,
- CPIP – Dorothy Teegarden,

Virgil I. (Gus) Grissom Scholarship



Gus Grissom was one of the original members of the United States manned space program run by NASA. Gus was born on April 3, 1926, in Mitchell, Indiana. Gus grew up in a small town and earned money as a child by delivering newspapers. After successfully graduating from Mitchell High School in 1944, he enlisted in the military.

By taking advantage of the G.I. Bill, he decided to attend Purdue University where he would major in Mechanical Engineering. Gus graduated from Purdue University in 1950 and had his sight set on becoming a test pilot. He enlisted in the United States Air Force and served as a pilot during the Korean War. Gus flew approximately 100 missions and received the Aid Medal with cluster and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service.

Gus returned to the US in 1952 and served as a jet instructor. After doing this for three years, he pursued an aeronautical engineering study at the Air Force Institute of Technology at the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. He later served as a test pilot trainer at the Edwards Air Force Base in California in 1956. Gus returned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1957 to finally realize his dream serving as a fighter jet test pilot.

As the 1950’s came to a close, NASA was developing its space exploration program, Project Mercury. NASA had considered more than 100 military test pilots as possible candidates to become the first American astronauts. Gus was one of the seven men selected for Project mercury. Alongside his company would be Scott Carpenter, L. Gordon Cooper, Walter Schirra, John H. Glenn, Donald Slayton, and Alan Shepard.

Grissom obtained his first mission in 1961. On July 21, he was selected to pilot the second American manned suborbital flight on the Liberty Bell 7 spacecraft. The flight only lasted 15 minutes and 37 seconds. With the chutes open, the spacecraft drifted down and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. The spacecraft contained an explosive hatch, which blew open at point of contact which filled the cabin with water. Grissom luckily survived the incident.

Four years later, he was assigned another mission. As commander of Gemini III, Gus got the opportunity to orbit the Earth three times. Along with John Young, Gus conducted experiments and spacecraft evaluations. Upon arrival on Earth, Gus and John were awarded the Distinguished Service Medal by President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Grissom was selected to command the first manned mission of what would become to be known as Apollo 1. Grissom, and the rest of his crew, Ed White and Roger Chaffee, never made it to space. They died on January 27, 1967, in fire during a pre-flight test at the NASA Space Center in Cape Kennedy, Florida. Grissom left behind a wife and two children.

Grissom understood that his work was dangerous yet important.

“If we die, we want people to accept it. We’re in a risky business, and we hope that anything happens to us it will not delay the program. The conquest of space is worth the risk of life” (Gus Grissom, Footprints on the Moon)

The Virgil “Gus” Grissom Memorial Scholarship is to promote a Purdue education and to provide financial assistance to students attending Purdue.

Scholarship Recipient Testimonial:

Amanda Jacob, Purdue University, School of Mechanical Engineering, 2013-2014 Recipient

[Career Goals]

“Attain a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering and enter into the work field. I hope to either work in product engineering or do systems work for underprivileged regions. “

[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]

“The scholarship helped to make my goals attainable by enabling me to attend a great school without worrying as much about financial predicaments. I have been able to truly focus on my studies.”

Brittany Rasche, Purdue University, College of Science, Biology, 2012-2013 Recipient

[Career Goals]

“This fall I will be applying to veterinary school at Purdue. I plan to earn a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in order to become a mixed animal veterinarian in a private practice, hopefully in Indiana.”

[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]

“This scholarship has allowed me to continue on the path to achieving my career goal of becoming a veterinarian. The scholarship has permitted me to take volunteer positions and shadowing positions at veterinary clinics and hospitals rather than having to use only paid work opportunities at other businesses that do not relate to my career goals to pay for college tuition. I really appreciate the generosity of this scholarship, and I hope that students can continue to be rewarded and aided by these scholarships in the future.”

Adalyn Dilger, Purdue University; Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences, 2012-2013 Recipient

[Career Goals]

“To become a speech pathologist in a school setting.

[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]

“Yes, very much! The scholarship has allowed me to work towards my goals of finishing my bachelor’s degree and going on to graduate school to become a speech therapist. I strive to work hard and maintain a high GPA because of it as well.”

Tyler Jenkins, Purdue University, School of Mechanical Engineering, 2010-2011 Recipient

[Career Goals]

“Currently enrolled in graduate school at North Carolina State University, pursuing a MSME with “system dynamics and controls” focus. My career goals and interests include electro-mechanical systems and controls applications pertaining to space/defense and technology development for product innovation.”

[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]

“While the scholarship did not necessarily directly affect my choice of internship/studies, it did alleviate some of the financial burden associated with pursuing higher education. By graduating with less debt, it has made my decision to pursue graduate study much easier.”


Samuel Ebenkamp, Purdue University, College of Agrictulture, Farm Management, 2013-2014 Recipient


[Career Goals]


"Own a swine and grain farm, sell seed for the co-op, and have a political career (gubernatorial aspirations)."


[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]


"The scholarship further convinced me that I have a strong support system of people that believe in me, and are willing to assist in my path to an expensive, but very valuable, degree."


Joseph Fischer, Purdue University, Health Sciences Pre Professional (Pre-Medicine Concentration), 2011-2012 Recipient


[Career Goals]


"Attend Medical School with the intent of becoming an orthopedic surgeon."


[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]


"The scholarship helped to pay for some of my school expenses which allowed me to get involved on campus in many organizations instead of working throughout the school year. These organizations have allowed me to become a more active and contributing member on my campus and has allowed me to get the most out of my college experience."


Matthew Summerlot, Purdue University, Agricultural Education, 2013-2014 Recipient


[Career Goals]


"I plan to teach agriculture classes in a high school.  I also plan to have a successful FFA program to compliment my classroom instruction."


[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]


"This scholarship has helped me to solidify the fact that I want to stay at Purdue and pursue my dream of becoming a high school agriculture teacher. "


Kathryn Sands, Purdue University, College of Agriculture, College of Veterinary Medicine, 2011-2012 Recipient


[Career Goals]


"My career goals are to attend Purdue University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and as of now plan to focus on food animal medicine."


[Has the scholarship helped in directing your career/educational goals one way or another?]


"Receiving this scholarship allowed me to be more relaxed and dedicated to my study as I did not have to worry as much about getting a job and how I was going to pay for schooling.  I was however able to engage in a number of activities on campus while at Purdue including the Purdue Avian Science Club, Purdue Pre-Veterinary Medical Association, and the Purdue Latin and Ballroom Dance Team.  Through smart financial planning and an educational strategy, I was also able to take the opportunity to study abroad at James Cook University in Townsville, Queensland, Australia during the spring of 2014. This would not have been possible without organizations awarding me scholarships such as the Gus Grissom Memorial Award.   I am very appreciative of this scholarship and thank the people and organizations involved in accumulating and presenting the award to me. This program should continue as it can benefit other students within the community striving to achieve their educational goals."




1) "Virgil Ivan Grissom." Bio. A&E Television Networks, 2014. Web. 26 May 2014.

Contact Us

Barrett S. Caldwell, Ph.D., Director
Indiana Space Grant Consortium
Gerald D. and Edna E. Mann Hall
Room 160
203 Martin Jischke Drive
West Lafayette, IN. 47907-1971

Phone 765-494-5873
Fax 765-494-4850