Dr. Sara D. Nelson is the Director of the Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC). The NASA-supported agency is part of Iowa State’s Department of Aerospace Engineering and works to improve and inspire Iowa’s involvement in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education.
Nelson has previously served as the ISGC as NASA Iowa EPSCoR interim director and assistant director for education and outreach. Nelson also holds a faculty position in Iowa State’s School of Education and conducts research in STEM education and uses her expertise to work alongside the Iowa 4-H Youth Development Program, developing STEM educational programs and STEM literacy outreach across the state of Iowa.
Sara received her Ph.D. in education and M.Ed. in science education from Iowa State University. She obtained a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Luther College.
In addition to her work at Iowa State University, Nelson serves as co-chair for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group. She also serves on the North Central STEM Advisory Board for the Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, the State Science Leadership Team, and the Science and Children Advisory Board of the National Science Teaching Association.
A part of NASA’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program since 1990, the ISGC supports aerospace research, education and outreach activities for all Iowans with NASA internships, fellowships, and scholarships, competitions for grants within higher education members (with NASA Mission Directorate alignment), as well as informal education grants with outreach affiliates.