Contact Us

Colin Britcher, Ph.D.
Director of Graduate Education

Mary Catherine Bunde, M.Ed.
Senior Education Administrator


Education at NIA

Our Mission:

Provide comprehensive graduate and continuing education in science and engineering via local campus presence and distance learning technologies. 

K-20 Educational Outreach & Programs:

NIA’s team of STEM education specialists, Educators-in-Residence, media specialists and program managers deliver signature national and regional programs to advance STEM literacy and inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers. Award-winning outreach covers the continuum of education through programs that capture early fascination with science, technology, engineering, and math; feed that interest through the formative years; and share exciting discovery and innovation to public audiences across the nation.

  • Teacher training through pre-service and in-service teacher professional development
  • K-12 student engagement through formal and informal integrative STEM learning programs
  • University student engagement through internships and rigorous engineering challenges
  • STEM literacy and awareness through national radio, web-based, and television programming

NIA’s Center for Integrative STEM Education focuses on the unique needs of the K-12 formal and informal STEM learning community.

Shelley Spears, Director of Educational Outreach and Programs, is responsible for these programs. For additional details, please contact Shelley at and (757)325-6732.

Graduate Education:

The NIA Graduate Program offers M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the member universities. The first full-operation of our program was initiated with the Fall 2003 Semester, and the program has continued to grow at a rapid pace. Our educational opportunities are available to NASA employees, contractors, and the local community. Courses are taught through local instruction and advanced distance learning facilities. Students have the opportunity to work with distinguished professors in residence, visiting and adjunct faculty, and the on-site research staff. We have a department-sized presence on-site here at NIA. Programs of study are diversified and encompass many of the following elements: Masters and Ph.D. degrees available from each of the nine member universities: Georgia Tech, Hampton University, University of Maryland, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State, Old Dominion University, University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and the College of William and Mary.

Postdoctoral Program:

NIA has maintained a postdoctoral program since 2006. It is an educational program designed to provide recent Ph.D. recipients with an opportunity to expand their research skills acquired in their doctoral programs or to learn new research techniques. A postdoctoral appointment is viewed as an important step in pursuing a research career. It is a limited term appointment with the primary purpose of providing additional research experience for a research career without distracting diversions or other duties, and to provide postdoctoral scientists and engineers with opportunities for research on projects which are compatible with the research interests of NIA and the sponsoring agency. The appointment is for a limited term, typically for one year, renewable for up to three additional years.

Continuing Education:

NIA recognizes the importance of continuing and lifelong learning for all individuals engaged in technical fields of study. We also understand that the educational needs of scientists and engineers established in their fields often differ from those of individuals entering the field for the first time. While some established scientists and engineers can benefit from a masters or doctoral program of study, many more will derive maximum benefit through access to individual or small groups of credit and non-credit educational offerings in selected areas. For scientists and engineers who would like to enhance their knowledge in focused fields, NIA has developed a program of short courses, workshops, conferences and seminars and colloquia.

Colin Britcher, Director of Graduate Education is responsible for these programs. For additional details, please contact Mary Catherine Bunde, NIA Education and Outreach Administrator, at and (757) 325-6731.



100 Exploration Way
Hampton, VA 23666