CubeSats and Enhancing STEM Education

Lee, Amy, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Laugelli, Benjamin, EN, University of Virginia
Quinn, Daniel, EN-Mech/Aero Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Wayland, Kent, EN, University of Virginia

My technical project and STS research paper addressed the importance of using CubeSats in the classroom setting for research and enhancing STEM education experiences. CubeSats currently serve as a platform for students of all educational levels to launch payloads into space at a low cost. Currently, there are various organizations that support the launch of student CubeSat projects on pre-planned missions. For instance, the CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) is a program in which students submit CubeSat project proposals to NASA for launch approval. CubeSats also show evidence of increasing student attraction and retention in STEM fields. This is important as current projections for our technologically advanced society reflect that by 2025, approximately 3.5 million jobs will remain open due to the lack of individuals with STEM skills. Additionally, according to a White House report, only 20% of high school graduates are prepared for the rigorous coursework of STEM majors. Therefore, increased student attraction and retention in STEM fields will ultimately minimize the deficit of qualified individuals to fill these open positions. The CubeSat platform is an effective tool that provides a hands-on, engaging learning experience for students while expanding opportunities for research.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
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