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Kerry-Ann Hamilton
Media Relations Manager

Howard University Officials Visit Goddard

WASHINGTON (June 12, 2009) – Howard University President Sidney A. Ribeau and University officials met with NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) Director Rob Strain and members of his senior staff on Wednesday, June 10 to discuss strengthening and expanding the partnership between both institutions.

The Goddard Center in Greenbelt, Md., and Howard University in Washington, D.C. have had an enduring relationship spanning two decades. Last year, the University received a $5 million grant as part of the NASA's Minority University Research and Education. Its goal is to increase the number of underrepresented minorities who obtain advance degrees in science related fields. Howard University currently has a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GSFC . To date, more than 40 Howard graduates work at Goddard, and some Center employees serve as adjunct professors at the University.

Ribeau and Strain discussed strategic areas of cooperation including building workforce capacity across disciplines in the classroom, through hands-on training, as well as cutting-edge research, primarily at the University’s Beltsville, Md., atmospheric research campus.

“The pioneering research at our Beltsville Campus demonstrates one area of success as the University positions itself to be among one of America’s top 50 research universities,” Ribeau said.  “Strengthening our partnership with NASA has tremendous potential not only for the area of atmospheric science, but for many global challenges including climate change.”

In tandem, Goddard plans to grow and foster a diverse pool of young workers through additional internships and greater interaction to create early exposure for students and potential employees.

“We are in each other’s backyard a strong partnership makes good sense and is supportive for both Goddard and Howard,” Strain said.

As part of the visit, Howard representatives engaged crewmembers from the shuttle Atlantis mission (STS-125) that repaired and upgraded the Hubble Space Telescope last month. Alumna Aprille Ericsson, Ph.D., a Goddard instrument manager and member of the Howard University Board of Trustees, was instrumental in organizing the event.

The NASA University Research Center at Howard University Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation trains students from all over the world. Strain, Deputy Center Director Laurie Leshin and other Goddard managers and scientists also visited the Beltsville campus as part of the June 10 meeting.

Howard University Beltsville Center for Climate System Observation

The development of a research center for climate system observation at the Howard University Beltsville Campus is proposed in response to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration solicitation for a Group 4 University Research Center (URC). The new research center builds upon existing research, infrastructure, and NASA and NOAA collaboration that have been established at the Howard University Beltsville Campus through extramurally funded programs.

Howard University

Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, Doctoral/Research-Extensive university, comprising 12 schools and colleges with 10,500 students enjoying academic pursuits in more than 120 areas of study leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. Since 1998, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars, two Truman Scholars, 21 Fulbright Scholars and 10 Pickering Fellows. The University continues to attract the nation’s top students and produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D.s than any other university in the world. For more information, visit the University's Web site at

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is home to the nation's largest organization of combined scientists, engineers and technologists that build spacecraft, instruments and new technology to study the Earth, the sun, our solar system, and the universe.

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