NASA's Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA, at West Virginia State University is an innovative project designed to reach K-12 students who are traditionally under-served and underrepresented in careers involving science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students meet regularly to engage in hands on interactive learning conducive sessions that are specifically designed for each grade level.
West Virginia State University (WVSU) is a historically black, public institution with land grant status. WVSU is “a living laboratory of human relations,” with a community of students, staff and facility committed to academic growth, service and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity. The university’s environment makes for a desired setting to facilitate the NASA SEMAA project to central and southern West Virginia. On March 1, 2010, WVSU NASA SEMAA’s staff opened the laboratories in Institute WV and Beckley WV.
Through this project, students in surrounding school districts will be able to significantly increase their math and science literacy by conducting real-world experiments that encompass learning that fosters gathering, analyzing, synthesizing and applying data. The Project uses STEM-focused Curriculum Enhanced Activities, or CEAs, developed by NASA that features a collection of hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities that are aligned to national science, math and technology standards.