NASA Project NIFTY (NASA Inspires Futures for Tomorrow’s Youth)
Winona Public Library has been selected as one of 15 libraries in the states of Arizona, California, Tennessee, and Minnesota to participate in the pilot cohort of Project NIFTY (NASA Inspires Futures for Tomorrow’s Youth). This program is in collaboration with NASA, the Space Science Institute, SciGirls, and Twin Cities PBS. This initiative is designed to broaden youth participation in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) studies by providing opportunities to interact with and gain inspiration from NASA STEM professionals.
The Winona Public Library will virtually host two NASA role models. Dr. Sarah Simpson, a geologist and planetary post-doctoral scientist with the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES) Division at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. Sarah is involved with the Curiosity rover mission. Dr. Mary Skow has her PhD in Chemical Engineering with a focus in Microelectronics and is currently the Strategic Evaluation Program Manager for NASA HQ under the Administrator’s suite. Mary started at NASA Kennedy Space Center as a graduate student Co-Op working on In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) followed by becoming a Project Manager at NASA Johnson Space Center for Environmental Control Life Support Systems (ECLSS). During the pandemic, she took a on a role as the Portfolio Analyst at NASA HQ for the Office of the Chief Financial Officer where she was responsible for understanding and working with the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate for things like the Human Landing System, Gateway and Suits.
Project NIFTY is a nationwide program that aims to broaden participation of youth ages 9-14 in STEM, with a critical focus on girls, trans and non-binary youth, and youth of color. According to information provided by NASA and Project NIFTY, girls and youth of color display high interest, confidence, and ability in STEM, but face multiple barriers including the intersectionality of racial, ethnic, and gender stereotypes and low or no exposure to STEM role models.
Throughout September and October, Winona Public Library will host a number of programs aimed at fulfilling the directives laid out by Project NIFTY and bringing new perspectives to Winona’s youth. Program details can be found the Project NIFTY page of our website events calendar.
Explore the Curiosity Rover with Sarah Simpson
September 26 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
STAR LAB Inflatable Planetarium
September 30 @ 9:00 OR 11:00 am
Navigate Mars with the Sphero BOLT
October 3 @ 4:00 – 5:45 pm
Can You Really Live on Mars? With Special Guest, NASA Engineer, Dr. Mary Skow
October 10 @ 4:00 – 5:45 pm
Project NIFTY at the ERC (East Rec Center)
October 11, 18, and 25 at 4-5 PM
Dr. Sarah Simpson
Dr. Mary Skow
The material contained in this document is based upon work supported by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) grant or cooperative agreement. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.