U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

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MDA STEM Initiatives

Stem Initiatives

Jacqueline Martin, MDA STEM Lead, congratulates Ms. Elizabeth L. Bero of Horizon Elementary School, recipient of the 2020 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Educator Achievement Award. This award honors K-12 educators for their contribution to STEM within the classroom and beyond.


  • MDA Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology (BEST) Robotics Grants allow novice and veteran official BEST Robotics local competition hubs the opportunity to purchase robotics kits and offer teachers robotics training. Grants also support local school district teacher professional development through National BEST Robotics summer training. Grants advance K-12 STEM awareness and engagement. Learn more.
  • MDA Engineering Innovation inspires rising 3rd- and 4th-grade students to study the engineering design process, science concepts, and artists of kinetic sculptures. Learn more.
  • MDA Inspiring Generations with New Ideas to Transform Education (IGNITE) is a collaborative, two-part educational initiative that aims to transform K-12 STEM education and develop the STEM pipeline, with a focus on underserved communities. Part I, Exploring Collaborations that Inspire Transformations in Education (EXCITE), encompasses collaboration among elementary, middle, and high school students in a hands-on, project-based challenge. Part II, Realizing Alternatives & Multiple Pathways by Unlocking your Potential (RAMP UP), engages pre-service and in-service teachers in the development of hands-on, problem/project-based learning experiences leveraging senior engineering design classes. Learn more
  • MDA Local STEM Discussion Group facilitates the sharing and coordination of STEM activities, needs, and resources among educators (K-12 and college), government, professional societies, industry, non-profits, and community organizations in and around the Huntsville community. Learn more.
  • MDA Military Academy Internships provide the opportunity for U.S. Military Academy cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, and U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen to participate in real-world projects with the MDA Advanced Research and Architecture and Concepts Divisions. The month-long internships provide the opportunity for interns to develop new technical skills and to work with top-notch professionals, placing them at the cutting edge of some of the most critical aspects of national security affairs. Learn more.
  • MDA Speakers raise awareness of STEM disciplines and their application to missile defense in K-12 grade classrooms, civic organizations, professional societies, special focus assemblies and events, and other venues geographically located near MDA locations. When requesting an MDA Speaker, please note that speaking engagement requests must be submitted at least 45 days prior to the event. Learn more.
  • MDA STEM Education Development (STEM ED) is a formal professional development program for 4th- to 6th-grade teachers and informal educators. STEM ED begins with a weeklong summer workshop during which educators explore STEM concepts in real-world contexts and develop STEM-related instructional activities aligned with state standards and rooted in research-based pedagogical strategies. Workshop activities include hands-on sessions with subject-matter experts, research-based strategies for STEM instruction, and educational excursions to museums and other attractions. Following the workshop, participants will receive STEM educational kits for classroom use. Moreover, MDA STEM professionals and university partners will continue to support participants throughout the school year as they implement STEM instructional activities. STEM ED participants accrue a minimum of 45 professional development contact hours toward teacher recertification. Learn more.