UCI News

NASA funds project to make STEM learning more inclusive

August 30, 2021
NASA funds project to make STEM learning more inclusive
Adam Martiny, UCI professor of Earth system science (left), and Douglas Haynes, UCI vice chancellor for diversity, equity and inclusion, are leading a NASA-funded project to create a more diverse population of oceanography students at the university. Steve Zylius / UCI

Through its Minority University Research and Education Project, NASA has granted $750,000 to fund a project proposed by UCI and Oregon State University to expand access to science, technology, engineering and math learning opportunities for underserved students. UCI and OSU are among 10 institutions receiving the Ocean Biology and Biogeochemistry award, which is intended to improve understanding of climate change and its effects. “UCI is known for its preeminence as a university that serves minority and underrepresented populations, and we have a well-earned reputation as a leading Earth sciences research institution,” said Douglas Haynes, UCI vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion. “This NASA MUREP award recognizes UCI’s position and will help us continue to provide positive educational outcomes for our diverse students.” The UCI project, led by Adam Martiny, professor of Earth system science, will train students in the use of satellite data for understanding the current state of ocean biology and its role in removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. “We will combine these data with our knowledge of marine genomics to identify when and where phytoplankton and ocean CO2 uptake are limited by nutrients,” Martiny said. “We want to understand if ocean warming is leading to more nutrient stress.” The program will include a cruise to the tropical Pacific Ocean and bring experts from around the world to UCI to teach a new graduate-level course in remote sensing and ocean biology. Martiny said providing these educational resources to minority students would strengthen the entire Earth systems science community.