STEMaction joins up with Columbia-based space research org - Baltimore


Jun. 7, 2017 8:16 am

STEMaction joins up with Columbia-based space research org

The nonprofit was acquired by the Universities Space Research Association, where STEMaction was already running robotics programs.

A FIRST Robotics competition.

(Photo by Ryan Johnson, used under a Creative Commons license)

The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) partnered with STEMaction on a center with robotics fields at its Columbia headquarters.

Eighteen months later, the two organizations are formally joining together. As of June 1, STEMaction was dissolved, and its assets were acquired by the larger USRA. STEMaction’s three employees are now senior advisors to USRA’s staff on STEM, Executive Director Bill Duncan said.

STEMaction’s work to spread FIRST Robotics among youth found a home at the 18,000 sq. ft. center. It was a move into STEM activities for USRA, which brings together researchers from 105 institutions. Formally integrating STEMaction allows USRA to expand its K-12 educational programming.

“The missions of both our organizations aligned nicely, and they wanted to move more emphatically into the K-12 STEM space,” Duncan said.

STEMaction’s scope has been growing with involvement in activities like the Maryland STEM Festival.

“We wanted to be able to support a variety of STEM activities,” Duncan said.

One of their first events under the new banner is on June 24-25, when they’ll host the first edition of the Maryland Tech Invitational at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel. Along with competing in FIRST Robotics teams at what Duncan called an “all-star event,” students will also get a look at Parker Solar Probe operations.

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