June NASA MICI Newsletter

As promised, the NASA Minority Innovation Challenges Institute (MICI) is working to keep you updated about its events and activities. Our goal is to send out a monthly e-mail newsletter at the start of each month. However, we might release a couple of newsletters per month during the first few months of this program, since we are continually building our schedule and new activities within it.

Remember that MICI will feature a live presentation today (6/9) at 3pm EDT. from Dr. Jayfus Doswell regarding how he organized the first HBCU team to compete in the Department of Defense’s DARPA Grand Challenges. This should be a great overview of “lessons learned” for those seeking to organize their own teams to compete in NASA’s technical challenges. Log-in at http://NASAMICIconference.com

Each month, NASA MICI will profile a different NASA technical competition. Each month will open with a presentation from the contest organizer. Subsequent weeks during that same month will feature presentations from Subject Matter Experts who will teach students about the technologies involved in the specific competition. The monthly schedule is as follows:

June – Space Elevator Month
July – Lunabotics Month
August – TBD
September – University Student Launch Initiative Month (pending confirmation)
October – Great Moon Buggy Race Month

The remainder of the month of June includes the following presentations:

June 9 , 2010 at 3pm EDT – Organizing the first HBCU Team to compete in DARPA Grand Challenges – Dr. Jayfus Doswell
June 14, 2010 at 3pm EDT – Robotics and the Space Elevator – Dr. Antonio J. Soares
June 21, 2010 at 3pm EDT – Photovoltaics and the Space Elevator – Dr. Antonio J. Soares
June 28, 2010 at 3pm EDT – Lasers and the Space Elevator – Dr. Antonio J. Soares

LOOKING BACK (and you can still view it)
We had a great kick-off to NASA MICI on May 24, 2010. The content from this presentation as well as other presentations conducted thus far, is available for you to view at anytime on http://NASAMICIconference.com . Its available 24/7/365 to anyone who is registered in the system. Here is a recap of presentations thus far:

May 24 – MICI Kickoff Video –
This video was narrated by students Jabare Mitchell and Michelle Coutinho. It features comments from: Astronaut Winston Scott; Peter Homer – Winner of $450k in two NASA Astronaut Glove Challenges, Andy Petro – Manager NASA Centennial Challenges Program; Miguel Rodriguez – Deputy Director for Management, Engineering Directorate; Gina O’Shaughnessy – NASA Systems Engineer with Launch Service Program; Sasha Sims – Analysis Integration Lead for Constellation Project Office; and Hortense Burt – Acting Chief of Education at NASA KSC.

May 24 – NASA Kickoff Presentation with Q&A –
The MICI team explained how MICI was created, what it seeks to accomplish, what types of challenges will be profiled, and how students and faculty can participate. We also took live questions from the online audience. Speakers included: Dr. Clement Allen – Florida A&M; Theresa Martinez – NASA MUREP office; and Paul Secor – Secor Strategies (MICI coordinator).

May 25 – Interview with Anthony Gantt regarding NASA Lunabotics Competition –
Dr. Clement Allen interviews Anthony Gantt, a student at Florida A&M who was a member of the university’s Lunabotics team which competed at NASA Kennedy Space Center in May. The interview includes about 40 minutes of Q&A with the online audience.

June 1 – Presentation from Ben Shelef, Organizer of Space Elevator Competition –
Mr. Shelef discusses the scientific concepts behind the Space Elevator, past contest results, and how students can become involved in the 2011 competition worth $1.1 million.


Each student that views a presentation in MICI will receive an email survey regarding that particular presentation. It is EXTREMELY important for students to complete these quick 5 minute surveys. MICI needs to measure the effectiveness of this program and then report the aggregated results to NASA. We would greatly appreciate your help in taking the time to provide us with your thoughts and opinions.

New Challenges on the Way?
Doug Comstock, Director of NASA Innovative Partnerships Program, recently tweeted: “Discussing technical objectives of next Centennial Challenge prize competitions at NASA HQ today, plan to announce 3 new competitions soon.” Three new competitions would be great news for students. When Centennial Challenges competitions are launched the technical thresholds are the lowest during first year. In years two and three, those thresholds increase and it becomes more difficult for newcomers to compete. So, this would be a chance for university teams to get on the ground floor. Please also remember that the Centennial Challenges have year 1 prizes that typically range from $50,000 to $500,000. So, there is definitely some good cash to be had.

Hit Us Up
MICI has established a Facebook Group at: http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=115530438470501&ref=ts
MICI can be found on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/NASAMICI

Calling All Tweeps
We are trying to build a twitter list of students, faculty, and friends of NASA MICI. Send us your twitter ID (example: @NASAMICI) and we will add it to our list so that it is another way for students and faculty to network by following this list. Please email your twitter ID to mary@nasamici.com

MICI has set-up a chatroom for students and another one for faculty in the virtual MICI conference found http://NASAMICIconference.com . People have told us that when they go into a chat room there is seldom anyone else in the room. This challenge comes from the fact that people mill in and out of the conference at different times. We’ve had a request to set-up a specific day and time where students can engage in a group chat. This same idea could be implemented for a separate Faculty chat. The Chatroom allows for group text chat, one-on-one text chat, or one-on-one video chat. So this would be a great way for students and faculty to network and maybe even form a multi-university team for a competition. If you are a faculty member or student interested in helping to be one of the chatroom leaders please email us at mary@nasamici.com

Forget Your Password
Did you forget your password to access MICI? No problem … it happens to everyone. If you want to get your password, look back through your emails to find your confirmation email with subject “Student MICI Registration” or “MICI Faculty Registration”. Your password is contained within this email. If you cannot locate this email please email us at mary@nasamici.com and we will re-send it to you.

Faculty – Help spread the word
Faculty members: please let your students know that NASA MICI is a free resource that is available to them. There will be a number of NASA university technical competitions that will require teams to register during the start of the school year to compete later in those challenges (many of which take place during April-May). By getting students engaged in MICI now, you can better prepare them to form teams when the school year hits.

Remember the Blog/News Page
In addition to posting information in this newsletter. MICI posts short snippets of information on a regular basis on both its Blog and News page found at http://nasamici.com/blog and http://nasamici.com/news . Check out these pages to get the low-down on MICI on an ongoing basis.

In closing, we hope that you are enjoying MICI and taking advantage of all that it has to offer. If you have questions please email us at mary@nasamici.com or call us at 321-285- MICI (6424). Thanks!


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