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Here to Observe (H2O): Opening Doors to NASA Planetary Science Division (PSD) Missions & Mentors for Undergraduates from Underrepresented Institutions

Presentation #320.05 in the session Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility in Planetary Science (Oral Presentation)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Here to Observe (H2O): Opening Doors to NASA Planetary Science Division (PSD) Missions & Mentors for Undergraduates from Underrepresented Institutions

NASA is fully committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEIA). To achieve the greatest mission success, NASA embraces hiring, developing, and growing a diverse and inclusive workforce. Underrepresentation in the field of planetary science is a known issue, with low proportions of historically marginalized groups participating in NASA Planetary Science Division (PSD) funded activities. As part of a multipronged strategy to address underrepresentation of historically marginalized groups in STEM, PSD has established the Here to Observe (H2O) program for undergraduate students from institutions not typically participating in NASA missions.

The H2O Program is, in its simplest form, a monthly, 1-hour opportunity for undergraduate students to observe NASA PSD mission meetings/activities during the 9-month academic year, alongside mentors and peers. By opening doors to PSD missions and sharing the excitement of planetary exploration, H2O’s goal is to spark and maintain an interest for underrepresented students considering STEM careers.

The H2O program has four central tenets:

1. Providing access to NASA PSD missions for undergraduate student observers from historically marginalized groups

2. Encouraging a tailored, student-led program, aligned with students interests and needs

3. Facilitating meaningful mentoring relationships with NASA mission professionals

4. Supporting cohorts for students from participating institutions to foster a sense of community for pursuing STEM pathways

During this DPS talk, we will present preliminary outcomes from PSD’s H2O Program and summarize opportunities for participation, including the recently released H2O program element (C.24) in ROSES-23 soliciting proposals from non-R1 institutions. We will provide a program element overview and discuss eligibility, core NASA-led program activities, supplemental activities (institution-led), and answer any questions about the proposal submission process, budget, and status on participating PSD missions.

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