Major Grant Sends WISE Students to NASA

W.I.S.E. Receives Grant for Trip to NASA
Posted on 01/25/2024
This is the image for the news article titled W.I.S.E. Receives Grant for Trip to NASA

Students at Winston Intermediate School of Excellence will soon get the chance for an up-close lesson about science and outer space, from the people who have been there.

The school received a grant for more than $17,700 from Toyota North America and the Toyota Foundation. WISE plans to use it to take all students and their teachers to NASA’s Johnson Space Center, in Houston, later in the Spring.

“Typically, we take our 5th graders to NASA as a way to send them off to middle school,” says Ana Cantu, WISE Principal. “This year we’ll be able to take our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. It’s the perfect way to send them off with some great STEM experiences.”

The grant will also fund STEM kits students can use in the classroom and take home to continue learning. The kits are through a partnership with 1st - Gen Scholars, a non-profit which aims to show students they can have a future in STEM.

“We greatly believe in learning happening at school but also at home,” says 1st Gen co-founder Dr. Carmen Cruz. “You really have to bring the two together to encourage students.”

1st - Gen Scholars is working with WISE and Texas A&M University-San Antonio to provide exciting opportunities to students.

“We really want to ignite imagination by providing STEM access to students as well as professional development [for some teachers],” says Dr. Cruz.

When it comes time for the trip to NASA, students will have the chance to experience what a ‘day’ is like for an engineer and astronauts. They will learn what goes into the space program and what it takes to become part of it. Dr. Cruz knows what it takes; she worked for NASA Armstrong, in California. She hopes her story will inspire these young students.

“I was the first of my family to graduate high school, go to college,” says Dr. Cruz. “It is so important for these students to see themselves as future astronauts, as future scientists, as future engineers. I think the exposure really brings that sense of belonging; I belong in STEM and I can do it. It also gives them that sense of self-confidence and self-efficacy to really continue to learn in school.”

WISE coding instructor Andrew Southwick worked with Dr. Sonia Sanchez, a partner through TAMU-SA, to write and submit the grant proposal back in November.   Edgewood is one of three area school districts chosen by the Toyota Foundation for this one-time grant.
Toyota Grant

Dr. Henrietta Munoz, the CEO of the Institute for School & Community Partnerships at TAMU-SA, says it’s the great relationship between the university and EISD which helps create these types of opportunities.

“Edgewood ISD always allows us to bring in extra resources, so I want to say thank you to EISD for being a good partner,” says Dr. Munoz.