On Sept. 7, 2018, Steve Shih, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Diversity and Equal Opportunity, visited the Wallops Flight Facility (WFF) (an organization of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center) on Wallops Island near Chincoteague, VA. During his visit, Steve had an opportunity to view the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) launch on a NASA Black Brant IX suborbital sounding rocket and learn about the important work done at WFF, including: mobile launch capability, flight services for scientific researchers and instruments, aircraft used at the facility, partnerships with other agencies and commercial companies, machine shop fabrication, and STEM engagement. Steve also learned more about the history of WFF, dating back to the days of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics and later NASA’s Langley Research Center.
See photos of the ASPIRE launch on a suborbital sounding rocket: https://www.nasa.gov/wallops/2018/feature/mars-parachute-test-launches-from-wallops
NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine issued a policy statement [https://missionstem.nasa.gov/docs/Bridenstine_Title_IX_Policy_Statement_TAGGED.pdf] today reaffirming the agency’s commitment to equal opportunity among the many educational and research institutions nationwide that receive NASA grant funding or that participate in agency-conducted programs.
This policy statement reflects a core component of the NASA mission and values that touch every state in the nation, as the agency currently awards more than $1 billion annually in grants to some 750 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) programs at universities and colleges, science centers and museums, research institutes, and other organizations.
Under federal civil rights laws, recipient institutions of NASA grant awards and cooperative agreements must ensure equal opportunity to their program beneficiaries. These beneficiaries include, but are not limited to, STEM faculty, staff and students and visitors to science museums and centers.
As the Administrator states:
“At the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), we are committed to achieving our missions and realizing our vision to discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity. To accomplish our missions and vision, we invest in programs and activities involving non-Federal institutions. As authorized by Federal laws and NASA civil rights regulations and policies, we are also fully committed to helping these partner organizations – that participate in NASA-conducted programs or receive funding from NASA – adhere to all applicable civil rights authorities, and refrain from discrimination on the bases of race, color, and national origin, sex (including sexual harassment), disability, and age.”
This is an especially timely statement of NASA’s commitment to equal opportunity as we witness, in many professions across the country, the impact of harassment on individuals, institutions and entire industries.
At NASA, we understand that diversity and inclusion drive innovation and mission success. The barriers created by harassment can have a negative impact on mission-critical work and the development of our nation’s current and future STEM talent pipeline. For this reason, and because it’s right, NASA is dedicated working with our grantees to prevent and effectively address harassment.
For more information on NASA’s efforts to ensure equal opportunity and promote diversity and inclusion among the agency’s grant recipient institutions, visit NASA’s MissionSTEM Web site at http://missionstem.nasa.gov/index.html and https://missionstem.nasa.gov/compliance-requirements-nasa-grantees.html.
Visit the link to view the videos: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWiqXYzBvyroaE0IuRTGzDr3HZadYB1uP
Three NASA Equal Opportunity employees attended the Talent Management Alliance’s 6th Annual Inclusion Summit in Atlanta, GA to examine the role and relationship of D&I with business issues such as innovation, leadership development, and team, individual and organizational performance.
This national summit is attended by a variety of Fortune 500 companies, academic institutions, and government agencies all committed to pursue D&I as a strategic imperative that supports their workplace mission and enables their workforce to be competitive and successful.
EEOC Webpage on Harassment:
NASA Policies and Procedures on Anti-Harassment and Diversity and Inclusion:
NASA Office of Diversity and Equal Opportunity:
NASA’s Center EEO Offices:
Ames Research Center (ARC) hosted its 7th Annual Diversity and Inclusion Day: “The More the Variety, the Better the Society” on August 9, 2018. D&I Day is a forum to share information about cultures – countries, extracurricular activities, lifestyles, and more. This event coincided with the end-of-the-summer barbecue, safety fair, and student poster session so there was a huge turnout!
Many groups, such as the Women’s Influence Network, Toastmasters, LGBTQ Advisory Group, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), and Hispanic Advisory Committee for Employees shared about their mission and activities. The Ames Disability Advocates constructed a wheelchair obstacle course to demonstrate the nuances of navigating everyday challenges in a wheelchair. The African American Advisory Group designed a Soul Train-themed tent and games, while the Ames Veteran Committee, in addition to partnering with the AFSP, highlighted military memorabilia. The Asian American Pacific and Islander Advisory group showcased the variety of Asian cultures through traditional clothing, and the Native American Advisory Committee connected with the attendees through pottery, jewelry, and literature like Moonshot: the Indigenous Comics Collection.
ODEO had several interactive displays, the first of which was “If Ames Had 100 People,” comparing Ames in 1993 to Ames in 2018, and encouraged attendees to question why demographics have changed. ODEO also offered the “D&I 365 Challenge,” which provided participants with a list of 365 diversity and inclusion actions, and challenged them to commit to an act of diversity every day. ODEO appealed to the scientist in everyone with “D+I = You’re Part of the Solution” – a periodic table of diversity elements designed to inspire attendees to think of diversity beyond race or gender. Participants were invited to vote for the most impactful diversity element as a subtle way for ODEO to conduct an employee survey and collect data!
The Johnson Space Center (JSC) Hispanic Employee Resource Group (HERG) has been selected to receive the JSC Director’s Innovation Team Award on September 11, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. in the Teague Auditorium.
In 2015, the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans recognized the HERG as a “Bright Spot.” The HERG has led a variety of initiatives to increase engagement by Hispanics both domestically and internationally.
The HERG has established multiple partnerships by its relationship with the Mexican Space Agency (AEM), including attendance at the Mexican Science and Technology Week (MSTW). For 5 consecutive years, 100,000+ people have interacted with HERG members, viewed NASA exhibits, and learned about the work done at JSC – also allowing the HERG to foster relationships with other entities such as the Space Generation Advisory Council.
A significant accomplishment was the trilateral Space Act Agreement (SAA) in 2016 between NASA, AEM, and the Mexican Directorate General for Educational Television to produce a Spanish version of the NASA program “Space to Ground,” a weekly program that summarizes activities onboard the International Space Station (ISS). “Espacio a Tierra” reaches 22 countries and 58+ million people. The SAA also allows for NASA-themed Spanish educational materials; the HERG develops and disseminates these materials. The visibility of “Espacio a Tierra” also led to other opportunities with Spanish-language media including Telemundo, Univision, and Televisa, featuring several JSC Hispanic female employees in TECHNOLOchicas.
The HERG’s partnerships also support space exploration. HERG members work with employees from Ames Research Center as technical advisors for AztechSat, the first Mexican payload to the ISS and with a group of students from Bogota, Columbia for EVA suit prototypes for NASA.
In addition, the HERG also led the creation of “Space Loteria,” a bilingual educational outreach tool that teaches space vocabulary in a culturally relevant way. This bingo-like game from Mexico features NASA communications priorities including Earth Right Now, ISS, Mars, Solar System and Beyond, Aeronautics, and Technology. “Space Loteria” has become a flagship educational outreach activity for NASA. In addition to reaching thousands of students, parents, and teachers, it’s also provided free to the public through a partnership with the NASA STEM Education Professional Development Collaborative.
The HERG has become a catalyst for innovation by collaborating with multiple NASA centers, programs, contractors, grant recipients, and international organizations. The return on investment of these groundbreaking successes in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and education has been remarkable. For this reason, the HERG is well deserving of a JSC Director’s Innovation Team Award.