The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium, headquartered at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, will be the first-ever Midwest host for the National Council of Space Grant Directors Fall Meeting Wednesday, Sept. 21 through Friday, Sept. 23.
More than 150 people, including Space Grant directors and coordinators from across the U.S. and employees from most NASA centers throughout the country, are expected to attend, said R. Aileen Yingst, director of the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium.
“We’ve got NASA luminaries pretty much from all over the country converging on Green Bay, Wisconsin, and I’m really proud of that,” Yingst said. “Much as Green Bay is the smallest NFL city, UW-Green Bay is the smallest Space Grant lead institution. The national meeting is a big deal to host.”
The conference will feature meetings and numerous sessions covering NASA program updates, topic-specific Space Grant highlights, educational initiatives and more. Attendees also will take several excursions, including trips to Lambeau Field and the EAA Museum in Oshkosh, as well as an optional geological tour of Door County. Apollo 17 astronaut Jack Schmitt, the first professional scientist to walk on the moon, will deliver the meeting’s keynote address.
“The most important thing for us,” Yingst said, “is the ability to meet face-to-face to hash out common problems and learn from each other best practices, and to open up partnerships with each other. The creativity just goes through the roof.”
The end of NASA’s Space Shuttle program is expected to be a topic of much discussion during this year’s annual meeting, Yingst said. The broad effects on science education and the next generation of space and aerospace professionals and researchers are of critical interest moving forward.
The Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium represents a powerful and extended network of space and aerospace professionals, researchers, students, educators and legislators that has state and national reach. It awards tens of thousands of grant dollars annually to students, researchers, educators and industry partners, and serves as a central clearinghouse for space and aerospace information. The WSGC was created in 1991 after NASA started the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program to address the need for a highly skilled, technologically savvy workforce. After getting its start at UW-Milwaukee, the consortium has been headquartered at UW-Green Bay for about the past decade. Space Grant officials are grateful for taxpayer support that allows them to support students, and are dedicated to responsibly and effectively using those funds, Yingst said.
Registration for the national meeting is available on the WSGC website, www.uwgb.edu/wsgc. Anyone may register for the conference, though many of its sessions are Space Grant-specific. Registration is $500, which includes a Lambeau Field welcome reception, EAA Museum trip, and several meals and snacks. The optional geological tour of Door County is $30. The WSGC can be reached at (920) 465-2108 or email@example.com.