Morgan State University will receive a landmark $28.5 million portion of a massive $95.8-million, five-year grant from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. The grant, which allows the East Baltimore school to conduct research supporting NASA’s Earth and space science projects, is the largest in Morgan’s 144-year history.
Morgan will now play an integral part in the Goddard Earth Sciences Technology and Research Studies and Investigations (GESTAR) research team. “This grant represents a significant recognition of the quality of Morgan’s academic programs and research in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics),” says Dallas R. Evans, chairman of Morgan’s Board of Regents, in a prepared statement. “I am proud that NASA has acknowledged the talent of the students on our campus by selecting Morgan as a partner in GESTAR.”
The Universities Space Research Association (USRA) will lead the GESTAR participants, which includes Morgan professors and graduate students. The team will study some of the most prolific and pertinent issues in modern science, including atmospheric chemistry, polar climate change, oceanography and more.
School President Dr. David Wilson, who announced plans to double grants and research at Morgan in 10 years during his inaugural speech, celebrated the grant and its potential impact on students.
“Morgan is committed to its graduates being strong, not just in the STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) fields but also in critical thinking and global awareness and that is exactly what this grant will do,” said Wilson in a statement. “I am convinced that through this partnership our students will be provided with even richer experiences and many more opportunities, for example, to do internships at NASA. On the other hand, NASA benefits from having access to a more diverse body of talent from which to recruit in the future.”
It was Morgan’s commitment to STEM disciplines that prompted USRA to select the school for its elite research team. Morgan boasts doctoral programs in bioenvironmental sciences, the state-of-the-art Richard N. Dixon Center for Science Research and the Center for the Built Environment and Infrastructure Studies, which is currently being built.
Baltimore officials reacted to news of Morgan’s historic grant, including Sen. Joan Carter Conway, Dist. 43, who lauded NASA’s partnership with the school. “I am elated to hear that Morgan was selected for this partnership with USRA and NASA,” said Conway in a press release. “This really affirms the University’s stature in the higher education community as one of the nation’s leaders in producing African-American scientists and engineers.”
Among the objectives of the GESTAR team is to “increase the involvement of minority and women scientists in earth science research.”
The Johns Hopkins University and the I.M. Systems Group will join Morgan and USRA as members of the GESTAR team.