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Hartnell College Earns Top Award From NASA

July 27th, 2007

Hartnell College earned NASA’s Curriculum Improvement Partnership Award of Excellence for 2007 at a symposium in Ohio on July 17.

The symposium, co-hosted by the NASA-Glenn Research Center and the United Negro College Special Funds Program, brought together scientists and educators involved in teaching and training underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering, and math. Such programs prepare students for careers in science and engineering who may otherwise not have considered those fields.

Hartnell has a deep commitment to its science students. It was first awarded a NASA curriculum improvement grant in 2004. It was awarded a three-year grant from NASA in 2006. The Excellence Award recognizes its work in executing the second grant to enhance science education at the college to better serve a large population of Latino and other minority students.

Among Hartnell’s achievements during the first 18 months of the second grant are:
  • Placing 23 students in prestigious paid summer internships at the Center for Adaptive Optics, the Naval Postgraduate School, NASA-Ames, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, the Marine Advanced Technology Education Center, B.A. Star at Chico State University, and Fremont Peak Observatory.
  • Forming a Memorandum of Cooperation with UC Santa Cruz’ Jack Baskin School of Engineering for the establishment of the Partnership for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE). The main objectives of PURE are to provide research and project management experiences for Hartnell students early in their academic careers and to ensure seamless articulation pathways to UCSC and other universities.
  • Creating the Project Management Institute to train students in project management in preparation for their summer internships.


  • On hand to receive the award for Hartnell were the grant’s co-principal investigators, Dr. Pimol Moth, Hartnell astronomy instructor, and Ms. Shannon McCann, coordinator of math, engineering, and science achievement at Hartnell.

    Two Hartnell students participating in summer internships created through the NASA grant were also at the NASA symposium to receive the award: Angelica Meza, who is working on a project in the Rocket Laboratory at the Naval Postgraduate School under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Brophy, and Oscar Mancillas, who is working at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute under the supervision of Dr. Peter Brewer. Angelica will transfer to Cal Poly, Pomona in the fall, majoring in aerospace engineering. Oscar will transfer to UC Berkeley in the fall, majoring in biochemistry.