Clayton State University Receives $425,000 Grant from NASA

Staff Report

Friday, March 31st, 2023

Students and faculty at Clayton State University’s College of Information and Mathematical Sciences could say their latest received competitive NASA award is “out of this world.”

Drs. Shuju Bai and Junfeng Qu, PI and CoPI of the project, say that the $425,000 will be used to organize five NASA-themed summer academies for 9-12 grade minority high school students. The first is set to begin in July 2023.

The academy will provide eight-day summer residential STEM camp exposing participants to college life, NASA research, Earth data and Artificial Intelligence. Participants will gain an understanding of NASA’s missions and learn how to apply AI technology to solve real-world problems in Earth science. 

While enrolled in the program, students will live on campus full-time at Clayton State while being taught in the university’s classrooms by some of its professors. Two field trips will also be held for students at the Fernbank Science Center and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History in Atlanta. 

Dr. Bai believes that the summer academy “opens a door” and creates an opportunity to provide quality education for both students from minority backgrounds as well as their families, exposing them to an amazing, brand-new field of science and research.

“Maybe they never knew research like this was out there,” Bai said. “We serve students who have little knowledge and students who have advanced knowledge in the field. After the students complete the program, they will pass the word around.”

NASA said in a recent press release that it wants to provide “a path to pursue careers in STEM” for students from traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities.

Clayton State University was the one of the eight selected institutions in the nation to receive this grant.