STEM Community-College Opportunity for Research Experience (SCORE) Program


2019-20 Solicitation NOW OPEN: Applications Due NOVEMBER 22, 2019



  • Awards worth $800 are available to community college students who complete a research project that aligns to NASA’s varied interests.
  • Students interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) can apply, as well as those interested in STEM education.
  • This document provides students and mentors with information about eligibility, deadlines, and other aspects that will guide you through the application process, and should be read carefully.
  • If you have questions, you may contact your campus representative for the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC) or OSGC staff (listed below).



The Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC) is pleased to provide students attending our member community colleges an opportunity to apply for a one-time, research award that supports their academic study in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), or in STEM education. The STEM Community-College Opportunity for Research Experience (SCORE) program awards community college student-researchers with a stipend upon completion of an academic term-long research project and oral presentation. Students are guided in their project by faculty members at universities or community colleges who have active research opportunities available for students, or an interest in supporting student research. These awards also serve to recognize the student’s achievements in the STEM fields. 

The SCORE Program supports the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) objectives of fostering and encouraging careers in STEM and STEM education and developing a diverse and capable next-generation workforce in aerospace science and technology. Women, individuals from underrepresented groups in the STEM fields, and persons with disabilities are strongly encouraged to apply.

The NASA Office of STEM Engagement develops student programs and opportunities that are driven by the research priorities of the Mission Directorates. To this end, applicants will need to demonstrate how their project relates to NASA’s Vision/Mission and substantively aligns with the research priorities of at least one of the Mission Directorates (see Appendix A. Strategic Framework for NASA and Appendix B. Research Priorities for NASA Mission Directorates).

Awards are open to a broad range of STEM disciplines, including but not limited to the Biological and Life Sciences, Chemistry, Geological and Planetary Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Mathematics, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Sciences, Civil Engineering, and STEM Education. Students should contact OSGC if they have questions about whether their field of study is suitable.



Applicants must be currently enrolled and in good academic standing at one of the following OSGC community college member institutions:


Affiliate Member Institution



Lane Community College*

Dennis Gilbert

Linn-Benton Community College

Kristina Holton

Oregon Coast Community College

Matthew Fisher

Portland Community College
Cascade Campus*

Deborah Cochrane

Portland Community College
Rock Creek Campus*

Andy Hilt

Portland Community College Southeast Campus*

Julia Betts

Portland Community College
Sylvania Campus*

Toby Dittrich

Southwestern Oregon Community College

Aaron Coyner

Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium Catherine Lanier

* Minority Serving Institution



This award is designed to provide community college students an opportunity to work together with a faculty mentor on an academic term-long research project in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) or STEM education that goes beyond what is taught in the classroom. Projects may be mentor recommended or a unique student-driven idea. Projects may be completed as an individual or as part of a team project. Applications from multiple people working on a single project may be submitted, but all individual applications are not guaranteed funding; proposed projects must be able to stand-alone or be portions of a larger project that are not dependent on one another for completion. Proposals must primarily be the work of the student.

Possible projects include but are not limited to the Linn-Benton Community College Space Exploration Team Projects, Oregon Coast Community College Scientific Observation & Atmospheric Research (SOAR) Program, the Portland Community College Portland Teachers Program, high-altitude ballooning, rocketry programs, and CubeSat programs. Students interested in gaining additional hands-on experience should discuss potential projects with their OSGC representative.

Awards will be competitively awarded to students enrolled at OSGC-affiliated community colleges. Students who are dual-enrolled in a community college and a 4-year institution are eligible to apply as long as minimum enrollment eligibility is met. Community college students may work with mentors from 4-year institutions or with someone other than the affiliate representative. Projects should be completed within the winter term after award selections are made. Projects and mentors must be approved by the OSGC representative at your institution.



Awards in the amount of $800 per student will be competitively awarded to community college students during the 2019-20 academic year. If awarded, all work must be completed by end of winter term/beginning of spring term 2020. Funding is for compensation of a student's time, travel costs to the Student Symposium, and costs associated with printing a poster. Funds are NOT intended for supplies to be used for the research project. Funds for supplies related to the project should be provided by the mentor and/or department.

Awards will be made in one disbursement of $800 upon completion of the research project, submission of an accepted final report, and participation in the SCORE Student Symposium in May 2020. This is a non-renewable award, paid in one disbursement, over one academic term only. Of these awards, a minimum of three (3) will be awarded to students attending an OSGC affiliated Minority Serving Institution (MSI).

NOTE: Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium’s obligation to make awards is contingent upon availability of funds from the NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program.



  • Application Deadline: Friday, November 22, 2019

  • Award Selections: By December 13, 2019

  • Duration: Winter Term - Work should be completed by end of Winter Term/beginning of Spring Term, April/May 2020

  • Participation in SCORE Student Symposium: Friday, May 22, 2020 at LaSells Stewart Center on the OSU campus, Corvallis

  • Award Disbursement: $800 - Students will receive the award funds upon completion of work, submission of final report, and participation in the SCORE Student Symposium

NOTE: There is not a hard deadline when work must be finalized; however, a final report must be submitted prior to the SCORE Student Symposium and students must participate in the symposium in order to receive the award check.



  • All students participating in the project must be U.S. citizens.

  • Student is enrolled in a minimum of 6 credit hours per term in STEM-related coursework at an affiliated community college at the time of application (fall 2019) and remains enrolled for the duration of the award (through winter 2020). Student may be dual-enrolled in an affiliated community college and 4-year institution through the duration of the award.

  • For "STEM" students not currently enrolled in "STEM-related coursework", supplemental information may be provided, including but not limited to:

    • Documentation declaring a STEM-related major or degree path.

    • Documentation of degree plan provided by adviser (general or degree-specific), which includes STEM-related coursework.

    • Letter of recommendation from past STEM faculty member or mentor.

         Please discuss options with your OSGC affiliate representative to ensure criteria are adequately met.

  • Student must maintain good academic standing.
  • Projects and mentors must be approved by the OSGC Affiliate Representative.
  • Participation of female, underrepresented minorities in STEM fields, and persons with disabilities is strongly encouraged.



Application Questions
On the on-line application form, you will be prompted to answer the following questions:

  • What are your interests in STEM and what areas would you like to explore in your academic career?
  • How do your academic interests substantively align with the research priorities of one or more of the NASA Mission Directorates (see Appendices A and B)? Please be as specific as possible.
  • Explain the motivation for your unique research idea or describe specific aspects of your mentor-recommended project that interested you?
  • For many community college students, participating in research is a new experience that can help shape your expectations of a STEM career. Briefly describe what research experiences you may have already participated in, or what insights you hope to gain by participating in your first research experience with the SCORE program.

Research/Project Proposal
A 2-4 page proposal is required, and must include the following (see Appendix C for template):

  1. Cover Page: Include project title and student’s and faculty mentor’s contact information.
  2. Research Problem or Project Overview: Provide a clear description of your research problem or a detailed overview of the project you are proposing.
  3. Relationship to NASA’s Mission: Describe how your problem or project relates to NASA’s overall mission (see Appendices A and B).
  4. Goals: Describe the goals to be achieved with your research project.
  5. Experimental design or project plan: Clearly explain the design of the experiment or plan of the project you are proposing.
  6. References: Cite sources for project-related information.
  7. Project Timeline: Provide a realistic and attainable timeline for completion of your proposed project. Project should be completed within one academic term.
  8. Estimate of Weekly Time Commitment: Provide an estimate of how many hours you anticipate working on your project per week and an explanation of how this will fit into your personal schedule.

Proposals should be single-spaced, using standard 8½ x 11 paper, in font not smaller than 12-point with a minimum of 1” margins. All pages must be numbered sequentially. Proposals must be signed by the OSGC Affiliate Representative from the student’s institution. See Appendix C for the proposal template.

Letter of Support
The faculty mentor must write a supporting letter, describing how the student will contribute to the research or project, indicating support for the proposal, and demonstrating clear understanding of the role of SCORE Mentor. The letter of support should be included with the student’s application packet.

Academic Transcript
A PDF version of your academic transcript must be submitted with your online application. Unofficial transcripts from your college or university website are acceptable.

Online Application Website



Applications are ranked based on the following criteria:

  • Academic Achievement
  • Direct relation to NASA vision and substantive alignment with research priorities of one or more of NASA mission directorates
  • Strength of student essay
  • Strength of letter of support/commitment of mentor
  • Strength and feasibility of research/project proposal



  • Student Profile Form: Students agree to complete an online Student Profile Form when they accept the award. This information is used for reporting to NASA Office of STEM Engagement and for longitudinal tracking purposes to evaluate the effectiveness of NASA’s higher education programs.
  • Final Report: A final report of at least 2 pages must be submitted prior to the SCORE Student Symposium in May 2020. The report should describe the execution and outcome of the project, and the evaluation and analysis of the results. Also include what you personally gained from the experience and how it supported or modified your perspective on research.
  • SCORE Symposium: Students agree to present a poster and make an oral presentation about their research experience for the OSGC SCORE Symposium on Friday, May 22, 2020. NOTE: Posters are retained by OSGC for display on the OSU campus and/or future Space Grant functions.
  • Recognition of Funding Source: OSGC must be cited as a source of funding in all publications resulting from the student’s work using the phrase “…supported in part through NASA/Oregon Space Grant Consortium, grant NNX15AJ14H”.
  • Contact Information: The student agrees to notify OSGC of any changes in mailing address, email, and telephone number for contact purposes.
  • Information Release: The student grants permission to release and/or publish requested recipient information to NASA or other appropriate parties.


Who can be a mentor? As an affiliate member of the Oregon NASA Space Grant Consortium (OSGC), faculty at your institution are eligible to serve as a MENTOR for the SCORE program to support community college students in engaging in a potentially life-changing research experience.

What is the role of a mentor? As a participant of the program, you would be asked to provide ongoing guidance and resources to support successful completion of a term-long project. The duration of this commitment will vary and is dependent on the type of project and student engagement. This may include, but is not limited to:

  • Identifying a student and/or encouraging a student to apply.
  • Offering support in completion of the application process.
  • Identifying potential projects for students to explore (where applicable).
  • Assessing if it is realistic and feasible for the project to be completed in one term.
  • Providing guidance regarding experimental design, literature reviews, data collection, and other fundamental research elements; supporting student researcher in identifying resources in support of research elements.
  • Collaboration with your institution’s affiliate member and/or administration to identify resources and support materials for project.
  • Providing ongoing communication and encouragement during project duration.
  • Providing feedback and edits for student proposal and poster.
  • Attending student presentation at the SCORE Symposium, May 2020 (where appropriate).

Is there assistance for mentors? OSGC will provide support and assistance for mentors to successfully complete their role as a SCORE mentor. Support is identified on a case-by-case basis, and may include but is not limited to:

  • Toolkits or online resources (i.e. webinars) outlining the basics of research and experimental/engineering design; help with identifying resources.
  • Identifying collaborators within the OSGC network to support specialized work or expertise needed to complete a given project.
  • Providing guidance on how to access supplies if it presents a barrier to success of the project.

If you are interested in becoming a SCORE Mentor, please contact your institution’s affiliate representative listed under Eligible Institutions.


Direct questions to Catherine Lanier, OSGC Associate Director, via email at or call 541-737-2414.



I. NASA’s Vision
To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity

II. NASA’s Mission
Lead an innovative and sustainable program of exploration with commercial and international partners to enable human expansion across the solar system and bring new knowledge and opportunities back to Earth. Support growth of the Nation’s economy in space and aeronautics, increase understanding of the universe and our place in it, work with industry to improve America’s aerospace technologies, and advance American leadership.

III. Four strategic themes are the foundation for the 2018 Strategic Plan and NASA’s goals:
DISCOVER – Expand human knowledge through new scientific discoveries
EXPLORE – Extend human presence deeper into space and to the Moon for sustainable long-term exploration and utilization
DEVELOP – Address national challenges and catalyze economic growth
ENABLE – Optimize capabilities and operations

NASA Strategic Plan 2018:

IV: NASA’s vision and mission draw support from the organizational structure of the Mission Directorates, each with a specific responsibility.
NASA’s Mission Directorates
Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate (ARMD): transforms aviation with research to dramatically reduce the environmental impact of flight, and improves aircraft and operations efficiency while maintaining safety in increasingly crowded skies. ARMD also generates innovative aviation concepts, tools, and technologies for development and maturation by the aviation community.

Human Exploration and Operations (HEOMD): leads human exploration in and beyond low Earth orbit by developing new transportation systems and performing scientific research to enable sustained and affordable human life outside of Earth. HEOMD also manages space communication and navigation services for the Agency and its international partners.

Science Mission Directorate (SMD): expands the frontiers of Earth science, heliophysics, planetary science, and astrophysics. Using robotic observatories, explorer craft, ground-based instruments, and a peer-reviewed portfolio of sponsored research, SMD seeks knowledge about our solar system, the farthest reaches of space and time, and our changing Earth.

Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD): pursues transformational technologies that have high potential for offsetting future mission risk, reducing cost, and advancing existing capabilities. STMD uses merit-based competition to conduct research and technology development, demonstration, and infusion of these technologies into NASA’s missions and American industry. This mission directorate is being refocused as a new Exploration Research & Technology (ER&T) organization to support exploration as a primary customer.

The Mission Support Directorate (MSD): enables the Agency’s missions by managing institutional services and capabilities. MSD is actively reducing institutional risk to NASA’s current and future missions by improving processes, stimulating efficiency, and providing consistency and uniformity across institutional standards and practices.




2018-19 SCORE Recipients
Jacob Brauer - PCC Sylvania Campus - Improve Behr Free-Fall Apparatus
Emily Gemmill - PCC Sylvania Campus - The Physics of Fluids and Application to Traffic Flow and Patterns
Izikaula Huntley - PCC Southeast Campus – Sustainable Food: Reducing the Energy Demands of Urban Vertical Hydroponic Systems
Aurora Jimenez - PCC Southeast Campus - Landslide Investigation of Dog Mountain and Wind Mountain
Bailee McMahon - Southwestern Oregon Community College - Analysis of Spatial and Temporal Relationships between Hard X-ray and Ultraviolet Emission in Solar Flares Observed with RHESSI and SDO
Teresa Nguyen - PCCSoutheast Campus - Systems Engineering for PSAS/Base 11 Space Challenge
Hayden Reinhold - PCC Sylvania Campus - Measuring Gravitational Acceleration with Digital Sensors
Isabella Trifilo-Miley - Southwestern Oregon Community College - Effects of Solar Structure on Solar Flare X-ray Emissio
Tellina Zavala - Linn-Benton Community College - Automated Garden Habitat Project

2017-18 SCORE Recipients
Marshall Andersen - Linn-Benton Community College - Polarized Light of the Sun's Corona
Emma Frazier - Portland Community College Southeast Campus - A Search for Urban Micrometeorites in Portland
Andrew Jozwiak - Portland Community College Sylvania Campus - The Modern Eddington Experiment
Myka Kang-Lanz - Portland Community College Rock Creek Campus - Genome Re-annotation of Desulfurobacterium thermolithotrophum
Matthew Lucas - Linn-Benton Community College - Stable, Inexpensive, and Recoverable Altitude Control Flight System for Latex High Altitude Balloon
Caleb Marshbank - Portland Community College Sylvania Campus - Glacier Melt Rate Measurement
Eleanor Paige Nicholson - Portland Community College Sylvania Campus - Glacier Melt Rate Measurement
Ciara Russell - Southwestern Oregon Community College - Using Geochemistry to Suggest Mars Rover Improvements
Audrey Vaughn - Linn-Benton Community College - Controlled Altitude Pressure Valve