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Paper: The NASA Astrobiology Institute - Minority Institution Research Support Program: Strengthening the Astrobiology Community
Volume: 420, Bioastronomy 2007: Molecules, Microbes and Extraterrestrial Life
Page: 477
Authors: Gary, T.; Butler, J.; Arino de la Rubia, L.; Myles, E. L.; Bradford, K.; Kirven-Brooks, M.; Ceballos, M.; Taylor, L.; Bell, B.; Coulter, G.
Abstract: This paper describes the history, purpose and successes of the NASA Astrobiology Institute Minority Institution Research Support Program (NAI-MIRS). This program is designed to provide support and training in astrobiology to a new generation of researchers from Minority Serving Institutions. The NAI-MIRS program provides sabbaticals, follow-up support, and travel opportunities for faculty and students from minority institutions. The purpose of this initiative is to increase the attendance and participation of underrepresented scientists in astrobiology research laboratories, at professional conferences, and as NAI Team members. As Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) graduate a higher percentage of students of color entering graduate schools in science and engineering than their majority counterparts, support to MSIs from the NAI-MIRS program will encourage the growth of astrobiology-related programs at these institutions identifying talented researchers and providing an avenue to foster astrobiology research, increases awareness of astrobiology within minority communities. Achievements in astrobiology by the Minority Serving Institutions include the first direct detection of an extrasolar planet and a MSI graduate, LaTasha Taylor, featured in the journal Science as one of the first minority students to enter the NSF funded Astrobiology IGERT program. To date, the NAI-MIRS program has involved faculty members from the three major MSIs: Tribal Colleges and Universities, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, and Hispanic Serving Institutions and partnered with the Minority Institute Astrobiology Collaborative (MIAC).
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