As NASA’s goals are more ambitious and more complex it is extremely necessary to enable strategic partnerships at Hispanic communities. These partnerships will increase our research opportunities and capabilities, as well as give us a competitive edge through innovative solutions. In addition, we can train the future workforce, and feed the pipeline.
Why Hispanic Serving Institutions?
The two main reasons for partnerships at HSIs are the highly untapped research capabilities at these institutions and the opportunity to train this demographic that will eventually work at NASA.
Hispanics have a large number of candidates definitely interested in S&E fields. We need to make a point and an effort to spark interest and involve these candidates early in their student careers on NASA-related research. Not only that, these number and trends will continue growing.
According to the U.S Census Bureau, Hispanics currently total more than 15% of the U.S population, and it is the fastest growing population. By the year 2050, “Hispanic-Americans will make up nearly 25% of the total population.” The median age of U.S. Hispanics is “27.7 years, compared to 36.8 years for the rest of the population. And almost 34% of U.S. Hispanics are younger than 18; for the population as a whole only 25% of Americans are under 18.” Hispanics make up approximately 19 percent of the nation’s elementary and secondary school students. In 2007, 60 percent of Hispanics age 25 and older had at least a high school education, and 13 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. Furthermore 811,000 Hispanics age 25 years and older had advanced degrees in 2006 (e.g. master’s, professional, and doctorate).
NASA has a unique opportunity to engage Hispanics and tap into their talent now. The most effective way to engage them is by having a visible presence at HSIs, which would enable strategic partnerships. The result of strategic partnerships would yield an increase NASA-related research and collaboration.