Promoting STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) fields by recruiting and training the next generation of aerospace stakeholders.    

Special Initiatives Award Recipients

Each year, the Wisconsin Space Grant Consortium awards a number of Special Initiatives grants to any established organization including, but not limited to: schools (K-12 and higher education), aerospace industries, and non-profit aerospace associations. The WSGC Special Initiatives Program rewards projects which are intended to encourage, attract, and retain underrepresented groups, especially women, minorities and the developmentally challenged, in careers in space- or aerospace-related fields. WSGC is pleased to announce and congratulate the following recipients of this year's Special Initiatives Awards:

2013-2014

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XVIII: Energy! Elementary and Middle School Sessions
Synopsis: A Celebration of Life XVIII: Energy! is a two-week summer program for grades 3-8. Hands-on activities in outdoor, classroom and lab settings, engage students in science and STEM careers.

James Kramer
Simpson Street Free Press
Research Title: Simpson Street Free Press Online Space Science Coverage
Synopsis: SSFP student reporters publish a popular Space Science section in the Free Press and other publications. Award-winning science writing lesson plans help students reach thousands of their peers, drawing young readers into core subject learning. We are expanding coverage related to careers in science. SSFP curriculum is now being installed at multiple after-school sites.

Shelly Lesher
UW-La Crosse
Research Title: Promoting Women in Physics and Astronomy through a Distinguished Lecture Series at UW-La Crosse
Synopsis: This Lecture Series aims to bring women speakers to UW-L to be role models for the undergraduates of the physics & astronomy program and to expose them to career opportunities in these fields.

Elissa Lines
Experimental Aircraft Association
Research Title: EAA: Steps Down the AISLE
Synopsis: Steps Down the AISLE is an ambitious two-year project addressing crucial stages in developing the often overlooked or underestimated potential for science learning in non-school settings.

2012-2013

Barbara Bielec

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XVII – Healthy Planet! Elementary and Middle School
Synopsis: Geology on Earth and Mars! is a two-week summer program for grades 3-8. Hands-on activities, in outdoor, classroom and lab settings, are designed to engage students in science and STEM careers.

Jack Blake
Brookwood Middle School
Research Title: Aerospace & Flight for Young Women-A Passport to STEM Adventures
Synopsis: Through educational concepts and technology with a STEM emphasis, a young woman’s motivation to achieve and grow in the world of aerospace will be stimulated.

Kevin DeCramer
Experimental Aircraft Association
Research Title: EAA FlightLink 2g and Women Soar- “Expanding Horizons”
Synopsis: FlightLink 2G is a comprehensive day-long, standards-aligned program designed to introduce upper elementary students to the tools and principles of aviation technology and engineering. Women Soar will bring teen girls and women mentors together for 4 days of aviation and STEM activities and challenges to encourage the girls to pursue education and careers in these fields.

Mandy Kroninger/James Kramer
Simpson Street Free Press Research Title: Simpson Street Free Press Online Space Science Coverage
Synopsis: Student reporters will publish a popular, fascinating Space Science learning section in the Free Press and other publications.

Clare Seguin
Lincoln Elementary School
Research Title: Lincoln Earth and Sundial: Art Meets Science
Synopsis: Through a unique collaboration between Lincoln Elementary art and science teachers and UW Space Place, students will design and install an analemmatic (human) sundial on the school grounds.

2011-2012

Barbara Bielec

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XVI – Healthy Planet! Elementary and Middle School
Synopsis: The Biopharmaceutical Technology Center Institute and the African American Ethnic Academy cosponsor A Celebration of Life XV – Healthy Planet!, a two-week summer science program for 3rd-5th and 6th-8th graders.   

Jack Blake
Brookwood Middle School
Research Title: STEM/Aerospace Activities for Young Women

Kevin DeCramer
Experimental Aircraft Association
Research Title: EAA FlightLink 2g and Women Soar- “Expanding Horizons”
Synopsis: FlightLink 2G is a comprehensive day-long, standards-aligned program designed to introduce upper elementary students to the tools and principles of aviation technology and engineering. Women Soar will bring teen girls and women mentors together for 4 days of aviation and STEM activities and challenges to encourage the girls to pursue education and careers in these fields. 

Reynee Kachur
UW-Oshkosh
Research Title: Students Teaching Astronomy Related Sciences (STARS) Program
Synopsis: The Students Teaching Astronomy Related Science (STARS) program is designed to promote the knowledge of and interest in space-related science to Lighted School House K-5 grade and UW Oshkosh students.

James Kramer
Simpson Street Free Press
Research Title: Simpson Street Free Press Online Space Science Coverage
Synopsis: Student reporters will publish a popular, fascinating Space Science learning section in the Free Press and other publications. We will expand science coverage and publish more science career content.

2010-2011

Barbara Bielec

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XV – Healthy Planet! Elementary and Middle School
Synopsis: The Biopharmaceutical Technology Center Institute and the African American Ethnic Academy cosponsor A Celebration of Life XV – Healthy Planet!, a two-week summer science program for 3rd-5th and 6th-8th graders.   

James Kramer
Simpson Street Free Press, Inc., Monona
Research Title: Simpson Street Free Press Goes Online with Expanded Space Science Coverage
Synopsis: Simpson Street Free Press student reporters will draw peers into Space Science learning and careers. Exposing it to young people throughout Wisconsin with new “By Kids, For Kids” Online Newspaper.  

Loretta Krenitsky

Loretta Krenitsky
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Research Title: Fly Girls 2010
Synopsis: Females 13-18 will be introduced to aviation and aerospace engineering in a unique setting enabling these young women to gain knowledge and stimulate interest in STEM fields.  

Lee Siudzinski
Experimental Aircraft Association
Research Title: Women Soar--The Sky's the Limit
Synopsis: Women Soar celebrates achievements of women in aviation, technology, engineering, and science, and inspires girls to seek opportunities in these areas where women are traditionally underrepresented.  

Stephen Steiner
Aerogel Technologies, LLC
Research Title: Aerogel.org Spanish Translation and Content Development Effort  
Synopsis: We propose translating Aerogel.org, a learn-it-yourself/do-it-yourself public outreach site, into Spanish and developing Spanish-language videos to reach underrepresented Spanish-speaking students.  

Eric Wilcots
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: "Astronomy in a Box" UW Outreach  
Synopsis: The project will create packaged interactive "astronomy in a box" activities and develop corresponding lesson plans. This resource will ensure the sustainability of outreach work already initiated.   

2009-2010

Barbara Bielec

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XIV: Environment: Elementary and Middle School
Synopsis: Elementary and Middle School students will experience hands-on experience in environmental science, including relevant NASA projects.


Leanne Doyle

Leanne Doyle
University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac
Research Title: Wisconsin GEMS
Synopsis: Middle school girls will attend one or more GEMS conferences at five University of Wisconsin campuses.  These conferences feature numerous hands-on space and aero-space workshops throughout the day.

James Kramer
Simpson Street Free Press, Inc., Monona
Research Title: Simpson Street Free Press Goes Online with Expanded Space Science Coverage
Synopsis: Simpson Street Free Press student reporters will promote Space Science and Technology learning and careers to young people throughout Wisconsin with new "By Kids, For Kids" Online Newspaper.

Loretta Krenitsky

Loretta Krenitsky
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Research Title: Fly Girls II
Synopsis: High school females will be taught basic aviation principles to increase their knowledge of aviation and stimulate their desire to learn about the many aspects of aerospace and aviation.

James Lattis
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Science Outreach for Spanish Speakers
Synopsis: UW Space Place will design and carry out a series of science workshops in Spanish for elementary school children and their parents.

Lee Siudzinski
Experimental Aircraft Association
Research Title: Women Soar--The Sky's the Limit
Synopsis: Women Soar celebrates achievements of women in aviation, technology, engineering, and science and inspires girls to seek opportunities in these areas where women are traditionally underrepresented.

2008-2009

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XIII: Environment: Elementary School
Synopsis: Elementary School students will experience hands-on experience in environmental science, including relevant NASA projects.

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: A Celebration of Life XIII: Environment: Middle School
Synopsis: Middle School students will experience hands-on experience in environmental science, relating relevant NASA projects.

James Kramer
Simpson Street Free Press, Inc., Monona
Research Title:  Young Simpson Street Free Press Journalists Write about Space Science and Careers
Synopsis:  Student reporters at Simpson Street Free Press will draw their peers into science learning by researching, writing, and publishing print and web-based articles about Space Science and related careers.

Loretta Krenitsky
Milwaukee School of Engineering, Milwaukee
Research Title: All Girls Aviation Day
Synopsis:  Introducing high school females to aerospace fields will broaden horizons, encourage study in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields and provide information about career opportunities in the aerospace world.

Elissa Lines
Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc., Oshkosh
Research Title:  Space Week
Synopsis:  The Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc. (EAA) enhances its successful Space Discovery Week, a school- and community-focused experiential program, through an exciting new partnership with Space Explorers, Inc. Space Discovery Week has traditionally included hands-on, aviation-related programming designed to encourage school participation and to offer key new educational challenges. The collaboration with Space Explorers, Inc., an organization devoted to bringing the excitement and challenges of space exploration into classrooms by connecting teachers and students to the excitement of space exploration through innovative educational curricula, will enrich the Space Discovery Week experience with the addition of the Mars Explorer Simulation program.

2007-2008

Barbara Bielec
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute, Madison
Research Title: African American Ethnic Academy/BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute Science Saturdays
Synopsis: A partnership between the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute and the African American Ethnic Academy supports the continued development of African American and other students’ interest in science, including space-related science and technology, providing them with the tools for success in school.  A long-term goal continues to be increasing the number of underrepresented students who enroll in and successfully complete high school science courses, and who may eventually choose to pursue scientific careers, including those in space-related science and technology.  To be offered in academic year 2007-2008, four “Science Saturdays” will be designed for kindergarten through eighth grade students.  Hands-on activities, in classroom and laboratory settings, are designed to engage students’ interest, enhancing their understanding of key science concepts, including those integral to space-related science.  Contributions made by African American scientists and engineers will be highlighted.  Special efforts will be made to include guest speakers who are African American scientists and engineers.

Jack Blake
Brookwood Middle School, Genoa City
Research Title: Young Women and Aerospace: A Passport to Learning II
Synopsis: This program will continue to engage and promote young women in the field of aerospace.  The interdisciplinary approach of science and math through educational concepts and technology will stimulate a young woman’s motivation to achieve and grow in the world of aerospace.

Corey Jackson
Jackson Practitioner Group, Inc, Milwaukee
Research Title: “Investing in the Future” Career Awareness Project
Synopsis: This project introduces students completing grades five through eight to transportation-related careers and disciplines.  The curriculum, which meets national math and science standards, is comprised of simulations, interactions with industry professionals, and site visits to industry specific locales.  Donations of funds, time and energy, resources and materials allows the program to offer scholarships to an ethnic mix of boys and girls from rural and urban communities.  A goal of the program is to expose youth to transportation-related careers and disciplines.  A second goal is to teach the educational and physical aptitudes necessary to obtain employment in a transportation-related career or discipline.  Since inception in 1999, a minimum of 100 students have participated each year.

Steven Lewis
Kettle Moraine High School, Wales
Research Title: Aerospace Opportunities for Female Students
Synopsis: The course focuses on astronomy as well as the space program’s role in the development of technology for the general public.  Aerospace engineering will be emphasized; career opportunities for students within the field will continue to be explored and developed.

Susannah Sandrin
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Research Title: Astronomy Is for Girls Too!
Synopsis: Girls will participate in space-science related activities, attend planetarium shows, learn about NASA initiatives, and meet with positive female scientist role models on the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh campus.  This program will serve middle school girls from rural school districts.

Paul Smith
Alverno College, Milwaukee
Research Title: Student High Power Rocket Flight with Radio Tracking
Synopsis: The project will involve students in the design, construction, and launch of a high power rocket carrying a radio beacon.  The activities of this project will require students to learn about the use of radio direction finding (RDF), including how to establish contact between a beacon and a receiver, use of beam (directional) antennas for radio direction finding, and FCC rules regulating the use of amateur band radio transmissions

Eric Wilcots
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Research Title: Astronomy after School at UW Space Place
Synopsis: This after-school program is designed to give children from under-represented ethnic and socio-economic groups exposure to astronomy and science in general in a fun and stimulating environment.  It aims to foster in them a sense of enthusiasm and ownership of scientific culture through mentorship by student members of the University of Wisconsin-Madison Astronomy Department.  Through this program, both undergraduate and graduate students will gain experience in informal science education and an opportunity to make contact with audiences very different from campus groups.  The program will draw its participants from two local Boys & Girls Club locations and will be held at the UW Space Place.

2006-2007

Jack Blake
Brookwood Middle School
Research Title: Young Women and Aerospace; A Passport to Learning
Synopsis: This program will actively engage and promote young women in the field of aerospace. A young woman’s motivation to achieve will be stimulated by an interdisciplinary approach of science and math through aerospace educational concepts and technology.

Benjamin Senson
Memorial High School
Research Title: PROBE Space Mission Summer Camp
Synopsis: A space and robotics themed summer camp for middle and upper elementary students. Campers are engaged and inspired by creating robotic explorers. High school camp counselors develop leadership, communication and team skills.

Karin Borgh
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTCI)
Research Title: African American Ethnic Academy/ BTCI Science Saturdays
Synopsis: The primary goal of the collaboration between the African American Ethnic Academy and the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute is to support the continued development of African American and other students’ interest in science, including space-related science and technology, and to help provide them with the tools for success in school. A long-term goal continues to be increasing the number of underrepresented students who enroll in and successfully complete high school science courses, and who may eventually choose to pursue scientific careers, including those in space-related science and technology. Extensive efforts are made to ensure participating of students from economically challenged families through the provision of scholarships and transportation.

Shauna Sallmen
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Research Title: Bringing Women Physics/Geophysics/Engineering Role models to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse
Synopsis: Bring women speakers to University of Wisconsin-La Crosse as role models for undergraduate women of the physics and earth science programs, and to expose them to career opportunities in aerospace / space-related fields.

Susannah Sandrin
University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Research Title: Astronomy is for Girls Too!
Synopsis: Girls will participate in space science related activities, attend planetarium shows, tour the Solar System Walk, and meet with positive female scientist role models on the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh campus. This program will serve middle school girls from rural school districts.

Corey Jackson
Jackson Practitioner Group
Research Title: Investing in the Future Career Awareness Project
Synopsis: This project showcases transportation-related careers and disciplines within all modes of transportation – air, rail, road, and water. The goal is to encourage students to pursue a degree or career in a transportation related discipline. Students completing grades 5-8, from rural and urban communities, are offered scholarships to participate in the one-week summer experience. The curriculum meets national educational standards in math, science, and language arts. Project simulations, interaction with industry professionals and site visits teach the educational and physical aptitudes to access transportation-related careers and disciplines. Simulations allow participants to assess their ability to perform the educational and physical aptitudes. Interaction with industry professionals offers close-up view on industry work assignments. Site visits provide opportunity to see and use industry tools and machinery.

Paul Smith
Alverno College
Research Title: Student High Power Rocket with Instrumentation
Synopsis: The project will encourage students in the design, construction and launch of a high power rocket that records data while in flight to create interest and involvement in learning about space related careers.

Ruth Howes
Marquette University
Research Title: Five Role Models for Introductory Astronomy
Synopsis: Five models describing the contributions of underrepresented groups to astronomy will be prepared. Use of modules will require minimal instructor effort. Each module will contain a power point presentation and background paper.

Steven Lewis
Kettle Moraine High School
Research Title: Astronomy course for high school students
Synopsis: The proposed course will focus on astronomy as well as the space program’s role in the development of technology for the general public. Aerospace engineering will be emphasized as will career opportunities for students within the field.

Elissa Lines
Experimental Aircraft Association, Inc.
Research Title: Women Soar - The Sky's the Limit
Synopsis: EAA seeks to grow its Women Soar event, which aims to increase awareness and create excitement in girls to career possibilities in aviation, science, engineering, high technology and other careers traditionally underrepresented by women.

2005-2006

Bloor, Ann
MSOE
Major/Title:  Engineering Fly In

Bogdan, Michael
Gateway Technical College
Major/Title:  Summer Aviation Academy

Jackson, Corey
Jackson Practitioner Group
Major/Title:  "Investing in the Future" Career Awareness Project

Sandrin, Susannah
UW-Oshkosh
Major/Title:  Astronomy is for Girls Too

Senson, Benjamin
Memorial High School
Major/Title:  PROBE Space Mission Camp Development Project

2004-2005

Borgh, Karin
BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTCI)
Project:  A Celebration of Life IX: Star Qualities
Synopsis:  A partnership between the BioPharmaceutical Technology Center Institute and the African American Ethnic Academy, "A Celebration of Life: Star Qualities" supports the continued development of African American and other students' interest in science, providing them with the tools for success in school.

Herman, Tim M.
Milwaukee School of Engineering
Project:  Engaging Students in the Science of Sustainable Agriculture
Synopsis:  The goal of this project is to engage high school students in a hands-on, inquiry-driven exploration of the science behind sustainable food systems in order to increase the retention of minority and female students in AP science courses.

Rakowski, Diane/Gliniecki, Jenny
Alexander Mitchell Integrated Arts School
Project:  Secure Your Place in Space, Launch a Career for the Future
Synopsis:  "Secure Your Place in Space, Launch a Career for the Future" is a project designed to promote career awareness, encourage math, science, and technology so underrepresented groups can make informed career choices and have access to people who are working in areas of interest to them.

Sandrin, Susannah K./Van Camp, Sarah Rose
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh (with Kewaunee School District)
Project:  Expanding Frontiers: Development of Educational Opportunities in Space
Synopsis:  The proposed project, an initial collaboration between the UW Oshkosh Science Outreach Program and Kewaunee Elementary School in northeastern Wisconsin, will provide educational opportunities for cognitively disabled elementary students in the fields of Astronomy and Space Science.

Siudzinski, Lee John
Experimental Aircraft Association
Project:  "Web-Flight" Scholarship Program
Synopsis:  "Web-Flight" provides Beloit & Milwaukee students with scholarships for a web-based, yearlong, accredited, aviation-centered course developed by the EAA to bring engaging, hands-on science, math, engineering, and technology content to students in a flexible, accessible format.

Valley, Karen L.
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Project:  Career Awareness Project - Transportation Careers

2003-2004

Bowman, Nicole/Jozwiak, Brenda
Bowler School
Project:  Indian Culture & Educational District Improvement

de Coriolis, Melinda
Sally Ride Academy
Project:  Urban Science Launch

McCollum, Crystal
General Mitchell Intl
Project:  Aviation Career Education Program Airport (ACE)

Riddle, Laura
UW-Green Bay
Project:  Special Initiatives - Flyer

Saffioti-Hughes, Carol
UW-Parkside
Project:  Rekindling the Fire: Honoring the Work of Commander Laurel Clark

Siudzinski, Lee
EAA
Project:  Inroads

Valley, Karen
DOT
ProjectAviation/Aerospace Career Education Camp-ACE Camp

2002-2003

Jozwiak/Bowman
Bowler School Dist
Project:  Uniting Tradition for Science Success

Kolb, Vera
UW-Parkside
Project:  Cultural and Historical Entried into Astronomy

Paradis, Jeffrey
UW-Whitewater
Project:  Sailing into Space Science at Hi-Mount

Testwuide, James
Great Lakes Spacept
Project:  Rockets for Schools

Valley, Karen
WI DOT
Project:  Aviation/Aerospace Career Education Camp

2001-2002

Mary Garcia-Velez
Milwaukee Spanish Immersion School
Project:  Exploring Space

Sibdas Ghosh
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Project:  University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Summer 2001 Space Camp

Horace Sanchez
EAA, Oshkosh, WI
Project:  Reducing HS Dropouts by Using Aviation Themes at North Division HS, Milwaukee, WI

Karen Valley
Wisconsin Department of Transportation
Project:  Aviation/Aerospace Career Camp

2000-2001

Tim Lewaren
Space Explorers, Inc.

1999-2000

George French
Space Explorers, Inc.
Project:  NEARlink

Maureen Molle
University of Wisconsin-Marinette
Project:  Fall Community Convocation Space Explorations

Julian Thomas
Gateway Technical College
Project:  Aviation and Aerospace Career Education Academy

Amy White
McNair Academy
Project2000 Space Odyssey for Tots