Providing opportunities for youth to interact with & learn from NASA STEM professional.

Group photo of 6 people in a NASA facility
SciGirls with role models Alma Stephanie and Astronaut Ellen Ochoa from NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Image Copyright, 2022 Twin Cities PBS
Group of four women sitting in a circle on the ground
​ SciGirls with NASA’s Janelle Wellons at the Jet Propulsion LaboratoryImage Copyright, 2022 Twin Cities PBS

Team Mission

NASA Inspires Futures for Tomorrow’s Youth (NIFTY) is led by Twin Cities PBS in partnership with the National Girls Collaborative, the Space Science Institute and the NASA Langley Research Center designed to broaden youth participation in STEM studies by providing opportunities for youth to interact with and learn from NASA STEM professionals. NASA role models will help youth to learn about NASA missions and careers and provide personal sources of inspiration.

Research shows that youth’s interest in STEM declines during and before middle school, especially for youth of color and for girls. Given the importance of diverse representation in the STEM pipeline and NASA careers, we must provide opportunities for youth STEM professionals to meet and engage with role models who look like them.

Rita Karl

Rita Karl

PI, Twin Cities PBS

What does your team hope to achieve?

Group of four women standing with their arms connected and buildings in the background.
SciGirls with Role Model Ramona Kitto Stately of the Dakota Nation working on a project connecting Indigenous and Western astronomy.Image Copyright, 2022 Twin Cities PBS

NASA Inspires Futures for Tomorrow’s Youth (NIFTY) will prepare 100 NASA STEM professionals to use research-based gender equitable and culturally responsive practices to encourage youth (ages 9-14) to engage in STEM studies and NASA career pathways. The project has a strong focus on engaging more underrepresented youth, including girls and Black, Latinx, and Indigenous youth in STEM. Trained NASA professionals will act as role models within 50 STEM programs in the national networks of SciGirls (6,000 educators), the Space Science Institute’s STAR Library Network, STAR Net (8,000 libraries), and the National Girls Collaborative (40,000 educators).

Check out SciGirls research-based gender equitable instructional strategies and best practices for role models!


Twin Cities Public Television (2019). SciGirls strategies: How to engage girls in STEM.

Project Websites