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What Is INSGC?

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Indiana Space Grant Consortium is one of the 52 Consortia part of the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. In the state of Indiana, INSGC is a source of NASA-related information, awards and programs.

The consortium works to carry out education, research, and public outreach activities in science, mathematics, engineering, and technology (STEM) related to space, aeronautics, aviation, and Earth system science, all while advocating increased financial and government support for Space Grant Consortia.

Consisting of 26 different affiliates including colleges, universities, businesses, and other private and public sector institutions, INSGC promotes aerospace education and career training by

    1. Supporting STEM students through various scholarship, internship and fellowship opportunities
    2. Assisting faculty and students in their development of skills in STEM related fields
    3. Offering experiential training aligned with NASA Strategic Enterprises, and
    4. Inspiring public interest in aerospace-related disciplines and lifelong learning through partnerships with educators at all levels...

Here's why the Space Grant is important!

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September 21st, 2021

A $15,000 grant from the Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC) will fund an undergraduate research project at Trine University that seeks to help understand the impact of spacewalks on astronauts.

Trine University biomedical engineering seniors Madison Howard of Pleasant Lake, Michigan, and Ashley Spirrison of Fishers, Indiana, will lead the project, titled “Developing Microfluidic Technology to Model the Vascular Health of Astronauts.” Max Gong, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Bock Department of Biomedical Engineering, will serve as advisor.

The project seeks to help address concerns NASA has regarding the safety of its astronauts while completing missions outside of Earth’s atmosphere, Gong said.

During missions, astronauts execute Extravehicular Activities (EVAs), commonly referred to as spacewalks, to repair and complete quality checks of spacecraft, and for research and exploration purposes. Prior to an EVA, astronauts must be exposed to 100% hyperoxia (a state of excess supply of oxygen in tissues and organs) for approximately five to eight hours, with repeats of the protocol two to three times each week.

This increase in blood oxygenation has been linked to DNA damage to lung tissue, overproduction of nitric oxide, cell damage from lipid peroxidation, and increased pulmonary fibrosis, Gong said.

Hyperoxia also causes blood vessels to narrow and abnormalities in the architecture of organs, limiting blood flow or fluid transfer through organs.

The Trine students will develop microfluidic vasculature-on-a-chip models, engineered models that mimic living tissues, of blood and lymphatic vessels to investigate the relationship between hyperoxia and its negative health effects. Such models have been used to better understand vascular health in diseases, such as atherosclerosis, Gong said, and can be applied to studying and improving the health of astronauts.

The Indiana Space Grant Consortium was created in 1991 under NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The Space Grant national network includes organizations working to expand opportunities for Americans to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts.

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Past INSGC Fellowship Awardee Inspiring Others

Madeline Shepley: From Eclipse Enthusiast to Planetarium Prodigy

April 5, 2023 by 

Meet Madeline Shepley, a master’s student at Ball State University studying physics. Madeline’s fascination with the Universe began at a young age. As an adult, she has had the opportunity to engage in scientific research, create a planetarium show, and teach preschoolers and elementary school students about space.

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Student Spotlight

Madeline Shepley works as a planetarium assistant at Ball State University’s Charles W. Brown Planetarium. In this role, Madeline is responsible for facilitating scientific, hands-on activities before planetarium shows, presenting school group shows, and helping with special projects such as creating a banner of Muncie solar eclipse history as well as writing and producing new planetarium shows.

A passion for science and education is clear in Madeline’s desire to pursue a career in planetariums and science communication. She recognizes that this career path integrates her strengths in science, interpersonal interaction, and creativity. Her current role as a planetarium assistant allows her to gain valuable experience in this field and to develop a diverse range of skills that will serve her well in the future.

An interest in solar eclipses led Madeline to apply for a Master’s fellowship with the Indiana Space Grant Consortium, which focuses on solar eclipse education and safety. Her goal is to educate people about the rarity of solar eclipse events and how to safely view them, as well as to create a greater appreciation for the world around us through science and astronomy. Madeline uses analogies and stories to break down complex concepts and make them more relatable for her audience, whether it be preschoolers or adults.

Having personally witnessed the magic of a total solar eclipse during the August 2017 solar eclipse, Madeline hopes to inspire others to appreciate the wonders of the universe similarly. With her passion for science, communication, and creativity, Madeline will make a positive impact in her future career and continue to educate and inspire others.

What is a Solar Eclipse?

Eclipses occur when one celestial body passes through the shadow of another celestial body. During a solar eclipse, the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, blocking all or part of the Sun for select viewers on Earth. There are three main types of solar eclipses: total, annular, and partial. In a total solar eclipse, the Moon covers the entire disk of the Sun, and viewers can watch without eclipse glasses during a time known as “totality.” During an annular solar eclipse, the Moon is farther away from Earth, making it appear smaller than the Sun and creating a ring around the Moon. During a partial solar eclipse, only part of the Sun appears to be covered by the Moon. All types of solar eclipses are dependent on the viewer’s location on Earth and are dynamic and evolving.

On April 8, 2024, Muncie, Indiana, will experience a total solar eclipse, which will be the first to be seen from the city since 957 CE. This eclipse will last for 3 minutes and 48 seconds and will envelop the city in deep twilight as the Moon hides the Sun. Following this event, Muncie residents will have to wait another 75 years to witness a similar experience without traveling far. Despite the fact that the 2099 solar eclipse will present more than 90% totality for Muncie, it is necessary to travel to a location such as Fort Wayne to observe true totality. Furthermore, it should be noted that the subsequent occurrence of a total solar eclipse in Muncie is projected to take place in the year 2505.


Brooke Owens Fellowship



Applications Due: October 7th, 2023

Student Story:

My name is Thendral Kamal, and I’m a junior in AAE at Purdue, emailing to let you know that the Brooke Owens Fellowship - an aerospace fellowship for women and gender minorities - is now accepting applications for our class of 2024.

I applied in 2022 during my sophomore year because I had dreams of working in the aerospace industry. After receiving the Fellowship, I worked at SES Satellites for my summer internship and had the opportunity to connect with emerging leaders in the industry at the annual summit. The Fellowship has also given me the career boost I need to fulfill my dreams of becoming the first Indian woman to set foot on Mars.

As the first international student from Purdue to become a Brooke Owens Fellow, I’d love to see more Boilermakers win next year.

There's a great FAQ page here. If students, staff or faculty would like to learn more - please have them sign up for one of our zoom sessions here.

  • Interested in a career in aerospace? The Brooke Owens Fellowship provides paid internships (in engineering, business, journalism, communications, and more) and executive mentorship to women and gender minorities in the aerospace industry. The application is currently live until October 7th.

  • Why apply? Fellows have interned at over 30 host companies such as SpaceX, Blue Origin and Lockheed Martin. Each cohort also convenes for a 3-day summit in July to build connections with their class and network with top aerospace professionals. In addition to a paid internship and summit experience, fellows are matched with executive mentors think CEOs and astronauts

  • Still interested? Fill out this form to join one of our live Zoom sessions where you can get an overview of the fellowship and we can answer any questions that pop up. We also suggest taking a look at the application as soon as possible to request recommendations and start thinking about your application pieces. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions. Looking forward to seeing your application!

NASA Internship Experience Supported by INSGC

Space Tech Challenge

The Space Tech Challenge is a competition hosted by HeroX (an online community) where contestants (or a team of contestants) submit a proposal describing their concept for addressing the challenges of long-term lunar habitation and their projected results. Submissions opened on August 15 and close on October 2. Finalists will move forward and present their proposal on October 13, and the winners will be announced on November 17. Winners receive a cash prize (5k for first, 3k for second, and 2k for third). The contest is open to all US Citizens who are not employees of JSEG or NASA and it will award cash prizes to the top three entries.  Non-citizens can enter, but they are not eligible for any of the cash awards.

Driven to detect dark matter:  Jared Newton awarded INSGC graduate fellowship


An interest in experimental dark matter physics brought Jared Newton, graduate student, to Physics and Astronomy. His research involves evaluating different types of sensors that could potentially be placed into a novel dark matter detector named Windchime. This ambitious project hopes to detect dark matter directly through its gravitational forces.  Although this research could take many years to accomplish, it has landed Newton an Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC) Graduate Fellowship.

The INSGC is one of the 52 Consortia that participate in the National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. In the state of Indiana, INSGC is a source of NASA-related information, awards and programs. The INSGC awards students at various levels of study with fellowships and internships to help them develop their education and research.

“This fellowship is meant to fund research programs that give genuine research experience to undergraduate students from groups that are underrepresented in STEM,” says Newton. “To apply for it, I had to write proposals about my research work and describe how I planned to get undergraduate students involved with the project. By getting this fellowship, I am very excited to mentor and teach students outside of normal coursework, in an attempt to get people as interested in physics as I am.”

Currently, Newton is spending his summer completing research at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. He is working in the quantum sensing group under the advisement of Claire Marvinney, a collaborator on the Windchime project. He is attending Oak Ridge National Laboratory to learn about how to use quantum squeezed states of light to take measurements below the standard quantum limit. This will allow researchers to evaluate the sensitivity of sensors beyond what would normally be allowed.

He is advised at Purdue University by Professor Rafael Lang.

“Jared identified not only a disruptively new way to search for dark matter with the Windchime experiment, but he also found a way to bring his research at the Oak Ridge National Lab directly to class here on campus,” says Lang. “I am thrilled about both the scientific and educational aspects of his thesis!”

Newton, a native Hoosier, grew up and graduated from North Side High School in Fort Wayne, IN in 2017.  He then attended Indiana University Bloomington and graduated in May 2021. As an undergraduate, Newton triple-majored in physics, astrophysics, and applied mathematics. His interest in experimental physics then led him to Purdue University. In his free time, he really enjoys spending time outdoors, especially bird watching or playing golf.

“I have always been interested in physics, especially astronomy, since I was a kid,” says Newton. “That was stimulated by a science museum called Science Central that was in my hometown growing up. In undergrad, I primarily focused on computational astronomy but, when I came to Purdue, I decided that I would like to try research that was more experimental in nature. That is why I chose dark matter research; it was experimental but still had a lot of implications in astrophysics.”

Once his education is complete, Newton is not quite sure what his next giant leap might be.  Whether it be scientific research and development or mentoring students, the gateways to his future are open.

“I think that I would strive to work at a national lab or in industry after grad school. I really love teaching, so I will strive to get somewhere that will allow me to do that in the future,” says Newton.


About the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Purdue University

Purdue Department of Physics and Astronomy has a rich and long history dating back to 1904. Our faculty and students are exploring nature at all length scales, from the subatomic to the macroscopic and everything in between. With an excellent and diverse community of faculty, postdocs, and students who are pushing new scientific frontiers, we offer a dynamic learning environment, an inclusive research community, and an engaging network of scholars.

Physics and Astronomy is one of the seven departments within the Purdue University College of Science. World-class research is performed in astrophysics, atomic and molecular optics, accelerator mass spectrometry, biophysics, condensed matter physics, quantum information science, particle and nuclear physics. Our state-of-the-art facilities are in the Physics Building, but our researchers also engage in interdisciplinary work at Discovery Park District at Purdue, particularly the Birck Nanotechnology Center and the Bindley Bioscience Center. We also participate in global research including at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN, many national laboratories (such as Argonne National Laboratory, Brookhaven National Laboratory, Fermilab, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the Stanford Linear Accelerator, etc.), the James Webb Space Telescope, and several observatories around the world.

Written by Cheryl Pierce, Communications Specialist

2023-24 NASA-INSGC Fellowship Awardees!

Each year, NASA-Indiana Space Grant Consortium selects outstanding students across the state to be awarded Fellowship funds for the academic year. The following students were selected from an application/recommendation process and we are proud of their accomplishments thus far.

Please help us congratulate these outstanding students!

  • Moshamma Mijjum-not pictured
  • Lexi Gault -IU
  • Charles D’Onofrio -PUWL
  • Ivana Daniels -IU
  • Bode Hoover- IU
  • Hunter Vannier-PU
  • David McFarland-BSU
  • Michaela Loveless -IU
  • Brooke Kimsey Miller-IU
  • Jared Newton-PU
  • Moshamma Mijjum-PU

2023 NASA/INSGC Summer Interns

NASA/Indiana Space Grant would like to congratulate the 2023 NASA/INSGC Summer Interns.

These students were hand selected by NASA to complete a 10 week summer internship working and learning in various fields of study.

We Congratulate their hard work and wish them the best while learning about NASA and STEM.

  • Olin Littlejohn PUWL at JPL
  • Thomas Michael Deucher PUWL at GFSC
  • Sajon Seaberg PUWL at ARC
  • Jerry Varghese PUWL at WFF
  • Jack Dempsey PUWL at JPL
  • Bill Beverly PNW at ARC
  • Jake Staker IUPUI at GRC
  • Sydney Vallier PUWL at ARC
  • Daphne Fauber-Krutulis PUWL at LaRC
  • Ryan Lukow PUWL at Johnson
  • Brandon Slater PUWL at GRC

Grant funding Trine research to help make space travel safer


As efforts intensify to increase the number of manned missions into space, Trine University undergraduate students will once again conduct research to help make such missions safer.

The Indiana Space Grant Consortium (INSGC) has awarded nearly $15,000 to the university to fund an undergraduate research project that will design a model to investigate the impact of the harsh environment of space on lymphatic vessels in the immune system.

Using a similar grant last year, Trine students engineered models that mimic blood tissue to assess the impact on those tissues of the increased oxygen required prior to a spacewalk.

Max Gong, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Bock Department of Biomedical Engineering, will oversee a research team of eight students representing multiple engineering disciplines.

Team members are: Amy Apgar, a biomedical engineering major from Wickliffe, Ohio; Isabella Didonna, a biomedical engineering major from Knox, Indiana; CJ Elston, a chemical engineering major from Plainfield, Indiana; Destany Garcia Ortiz, a design engineering technology major from Indianapolis; Upasana Shrestha, a biomedical engineering major from Nepal; Lilly Speier, a biomedical engineering major from Hartland, Michigan; Aaron Streit, a biomedical engineering major from New Paris, Indiana; and Aiden Theobald, a biomedical engineering major from Waveland, Missouri.

Where no one has gone before

Gong said studies have been conducted investigating the effects of oxidative stress caused by space environmental factors — the imbalance between reactive chemicals formed from oxygen and the body’s ability to cope with them that occurs when oxygen is increased or decreased — on organ systems and immune cells. However, there is minimal research into its impacts on structural components of the immune system such as lymphatic vessels.

“To advance our understanding in this area, engineering students at Trine University propose to develop models to investigate the effect of induced oxidative stress on the lymphatic system, and consequently, on the immune system,” he said.

The team’s goal will be to develop models of lymphatic vessels that better represent actual human vessels. The group will generate its models using human lymphatic endothelial cells (HLECs) acquired from commercial research distributors.

The team will expose models to low- and high-oxygen environments simulating changes in environmental pressure an astronaut may experience during spacewalks and gather data on cell viability and growth as well as secretion of cytokines, substances typically secreted by immune cells. The group also will record data for cultures that include its models along immune cells in the same environment.

Members will compile data to be shared at academic conferences and in research journals.

The Indiana Space Grant Consortium was created in 1991 under NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program. The Space Grant national network includes organizations working to expand opportunities for Americans to learn about and participate in NASA’s aeronautics and space projects by supporting and enhancing science and engineering education, research and public outreach efforts.

Photo: Max Gong, Ph.D., left, assistant professor in the Bock Department of Biomedical Engineering at Trine University, will oversee a team of eight students designing a model to investigate the impact of the harsh environment of space on lymphatic vessels in the immune system. From front to back are Amy Apgar, Destany Garcia Ortiz, Upasana Shrestha, CJ Elston, Isabella Didonna, Lilly Speier, Aaron Streit and Aiden Theobald. (Photo by Dean Orewiler)

NASA's 2023 Big Idea Challenge

The 2023 BIG Idea Challenge provides undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to design, develop, and demonstrate technologies that will enable the production of lunar infrastructure from ISRU-derived metals found on the Moon. Key infrastructure products desired are storage vessels for liquids and gases, extrusions, pipes, power cables, and supporting structures (i.e., roads, landing pads, etc.). Teams are invited to submit proposals that focus on any part of the metal product production pipeline* from prospecting to testing.


The BIG Idea Challenge is open to teams of undergraduate and graduate students at accredited U.S.-based colleges and universities officially affiliated with their state’s Space Grant Consortium. Non-Space Grant affiliated colleges/universities may partner with a Space Grant affiliated academic institution who takes a primary role on the project (i.e., the Space-Grant affiliated university must submit the proposal on behalf of the joint team). Minority Serving Institutions are encouraged to apply.

Each team will submit a detailed and realistic budget in their proposals, not to exceed $180K. A wide range of award sizes is expected (in the range of $50K to $180K), depending on the scope of the work proposed. NASA anticipates funding several larger-scope awards ($125 - $180K) and several smaller-scope awards ($50K - $124K). Proposers are encouraged to request what is actually needed to conduct the proposed work, because value to NASA will be considered in the selections.


All deadlines must be met by 11:59 p.m. ET on the dates specified below, unless otherwise noted.

Late deliverables will not be accepted.

DATE Description

June 7, 2023                                                                Deadline for Mid-Project Review (MPR) submission

June 27, 2023                                                              Teams are notified of Pass/Fail status

Early July, 2023                                                           2nd installment stipends are sent as appropriate from SG directly to schools

June - August, 2023                                                    Summer work

September – October 2023                                      Fall work (technology verification demonstrations)

October 2, 2023                                                          Deadline for Forum Registration and Payment

October 14, 2023                                                       Deadline for Forum Hotel Reservations

October 23, 2023                                                       Deadline to submit Technical Paper and Technology Verification Demo

November 12, 2023 4:00 PM Eastern Time           Deadline to submit Presentation Chart Deck and Digital Poster

November 15-17, 2023 2                                          023 BIG Idea Forum (Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, OH)




INSGC Photo Of The Day

September 30th, 2023

Explanation: For northern hemisphere dwellers, September's Full Moon was the Harvest Moon. Reflecting warm hues at sunset, it rises behind cypress trees huddled on a hilltop in Tuscany, Italy in this telephoto view from September 28. Famed in festival, story, and song, Harvest Moon is just the traditional name of the full moon nearest the autumnal equinox. According to lore the name is a fitting one. Despite the diminishing daylight hours as the growing season drew to a close, farmers could harvest crops by the light of a full moon shining on from dusk to dawn. This Harvest Moon was also known to some as a supermoon, a term becoming a traditional name for a full moon near perigee. It was the fourth and final supermoon for 2023.



Funding source for INSGC Fellowships, Internships; Research and Outreach Project funding for Higher Education, K-12, and Informal Education through INSGC affiliates.


Research funding available for undergraduates, graduates and faculty.


Collaboration opportunities with industries for internships and skill set training.


Funding for projects that create public awareness of INSGC and NASA.

Need Funding?

Browse through the opportunities we offer and apply today!


Indiana Space Grant Consortium supports K-12 education by offering space based resources to excite children about STEM and NASA education. You can find these resources below.

Educational Resources

Teacher Resources

Educational Programs


Higher Education

INSGC higher education affiliates throughout Indiana with eligible students, must be a US citizen, enrolled full-time as a collegiate student, be involved in STEM related research or STEM education project, are eligible to apply for scholarship/fellowship.


Beginning in 2020, INSGC no longer offers UG Scholarships. Instead INSGC offers Undergraduate Research Internships.

Students will not directly apply for this funding from INSGC. Faculty members (PI) who are supervising a research activity will apply for the award for the number of students planning to participate in the project. UG students will be paid an hourly rate for research.



Fellowships, Masters/Ph.D are available for graduate students pursuing research projects with any INSGC affiliate. New for 2020, applicants must specify a NASA Center and/or a Mission Directorate alignment.


Research awarded to be conducted by faculty who submit project proposals that help NASA achieve national research objectives

New for 2020. All proposals must specify a NASA Center and/or Mission Directorate with which it is aligned.

Informal Education

Information, resources, and funding for Professional Development for informal educators relating to science, technology, engineering, and math.


INSGC outreach affiliates may apply for grant funding that engages K-12 students in STEM curriculum and hands-on learning.

New for 2020. All proposals must specify a NASA Center and/or Mission Directorate with which it is aligned.

View our Academic pages for more information.

Looking For Career Opportunities?

INSGC currently has a career page with information 

and a few valuable resources!

The INSGC twitter page is linked above. There will also be a link to our INSGC Facebook page shortly.

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