NYS STEM Incentive Program – 2016 Announcement

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

A reproduction of the key info from the Higher Education Services Corporation NYS STEM Incentive Program is below. This is, hopefully, the most useful post to the CNYO website this year – with thanks to Assemblyman Bill Magnarelli for sending out flyers about this announcement.

The NYS STEM Incentive Program provides a full SUNY tuition scholarship to the top 10 percent of students in each NYS high school if they pursue a STEM degree in an associate’s or bachelor’s degree program and agree to live in NYS and work in a STEM field in NYS for five years after graduation.


An applicant must:

  • be a legal resident of NYS and have resided in NYS for 12 continuous months;
  • be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • be a high school senior/recent high school graduate who will be enrolled full time at a SUNY or CUNY college, including community colleges and the statutory colleges at Cornell University and Alfred University, beginning in the fall term following his or her high school graduation;
  • be ranked in the top 10 percent of his/her high school graduating class of a NYS high school;
  • be matriculated in an undergraduate program leading to a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics at a SUNY or CUNY college;
  • earn a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 2.5 or higher each term after the first semester;
  • execute a service contract agreeing to reside and work in NYS for five years in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics. View the terms and conditions of the service contract;
  • not be in default on a student loan made under any NYS or federal education loan program or repayment of any state award; and
  • be in compliance with the terms of any service condition imposed by a state award.

Students matriculated in these programs of study may be eligible for a STEM Incentive Program award. The program of study must result in an approved occupation.

Award Amounts

A recipient receives an annual award for full-time study equal to the annual tuition charged to NYS resident students attending an undergraduate program at the State University of New York (SUNY), or actual tuition charged, whichever is less. For the 2015-2016 academic year, the Standard SUNY Tuition Rate was a maximum of $6,470 per year.

The STEM Incentive Program award will be reduced by the amount of any other tuition-only assistance award, such as the NYS Tuition Assistance Program (TAP), received.

Note: Any award payment received may have tax implications. Any questions regarding this should be directed to a tax professional, the Internal Revenue Service, or the NYS Department of Taxation and Finance.


A recipient is entitled to an annual award for not more than four academic years of full-time undergraduate study while matriculated in an approved program leading to a degree in science, technology, engineering or mathematics or five years if the program of study requires five years.

How to Apply

The application deadline for the 2015 STEM Incentive Program has passed.

The application for 2016 graduating high school seniors will be available in January 2016.


A recipient is not required to submit another NYS Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Incentive Program Web Application once awarded this scholarship, but must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the Payment of State Grants, Scholarships and Awards Application each year to receive payment.

Awards will be paid directly to the colleges on behalf of students upon the successful completion of each term. Successful completion of a term means the applicant meets all of the eligibility requirements for the award.

Frequently Asked Questions

View commonly asked questions pertaining to STEM.


Please contact the HESC Scholarship Unit at scholarships@hesc.ny.gov or 1-888-697-4372 with questions about this Program.

NASA News Digest: Space Science For 4 November – 12 November 2015

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The NASA News Service provides up-to-date announcements of NASA policy, news events, and space science. A recent selection of space science articles are provided below, including direct links to the full announcements. Those interested in receiving these announcements from NASA can subscribe to their service by sending an email to: hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov?subject=subscribe

Be An Astronaut: NASA Seeks Explorers For Future Space Missions

RELEASE 15-216 (Click here for the full article) – 4 November 2015

In anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars, NASA announced it will soon begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates. With more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history, future astronauts will launch once again from the Space Coast of Florida on American-made commercial spacecraft, and carry out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars.

The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at: http://www.usajobs.gov

The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

From pilots and engineers, to scientists and medical doctors, NASA selects qualified astronaut candidates from a diverse pool of U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds.

The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at:

For more information about a career as a NASA astronaut, and application requirements, visit: www.nasa.gov/astronauts

NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere

RELEASE 15-217 (Click here for the full article) – 5 November 2015

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.

MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. The findings reveal that the erosion of Mars’ atmosphere increases significantly during solar storms. The scientific results from the mission appear in the Nov. 5 issues of the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

“Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water which is a key ingredient and medium for life as we currently know it,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere. Learning what can cause changes to a planet’s environment from one that could host microbes at the surface to one that doesn’t is important to know, and is a key question that is being addressed in NASA’s journey to Mars.”

To view an animation simulating the loss of atmosphere and water on Mars: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4370

For more information and images on Mars’ lost atmosphere, visit: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4393

For more information about NASA’s MAVEN mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/maven

Four Months After Pluto Flyby, NASA’s New Horizons Yields Wealth Of Discovery

RELEASE 15-214 (Click here for the full article) – 9 November 2015

From possible ice volcanoes to twirling moons, NASA’s New Horizons science team is discussing more than 50 exciting discoveries about Pluto at this week’s 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland.

“The New Horizons mission has taken what we thought we knew about Pluto and turned it upside down,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It’s why we explore — to satisfy our innate curiosity and answer deeper questions about how we got here and what lies beyond the next horizon.”

For one such discovery, New Horizons geologists combined images of Pluto’s surface to make 3-D maps that indicate two of Pluto’s most distinctive mountains could be cryovolcanoes — ice volcanoes that may have been active in the recent geological past.

To view more images and graphics being presented by New Horizons scientists at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, visit: pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Press-Conferences/November-9-2015.php

For more information on NASA’s New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, videos and images, visit: www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

As Earth Warms, NASA Targets ‘Other Half’ Of Carbon, Climate Equation

RELEASE 15-219 (Click here for the full article) – 12 November 2015

During a noon EST media teleconference today, NASA and university scientists will discuss new insights, tools and agency research into key carbon and climate change questions, as the agency ramps up its efforts to understand how Earth’s ocean, forest, and land ecosystems absorb nearly half of emitted carbon dioxide today.

Carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities influences the amount of the sun’s energy trapped by Earth’s atmosphere. These emissions are the subject of a United Nations climate conference in Paris later this month. To improve the information available to policymakers on this issue, scientists are grappling with the complex question of whether Earth’s oceans, forests and land ecosystems will maintain their capacity to absorb about half of all human-produced carbon dioxide emissions in the future.

“NASA is at the forefront of scientific understanding in this area, bringing together advanced measurement technologies, focused field experiments, and cutting-edge research to reveal how carbon moves around the planet and changes our climate,” said Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “Understanding how the planet responds to human carbon emissions and increasing atmospheric CO2 levels will position our nation to take advantage of the opportunities and face the challenges that climate changes present.”

To learn more about NASA’s efforts to better understand the carbon and climate challenge, visit: www.nasa.gov/carbonclimate

NASA Orders SpaceX Crew Mission To International Space Station

RELEASE 15-224 (Click here for the full article) – 20 November 2015

2012nov22_39a_aerial1NASA took a significant step Friday toward expanding research opportunities aboard the International Space Station with its first mission order from Hawthorne, California based-company SpaceX to launch astronauts from U.S. soil.

This is the second in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. The Boeing Company of Houston received its first crew mission order in May.

“It’s really exciting to see SpaceX and Boeing with hardware in flow for their first crew rotation missions,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “It is important to have at least two healthy and robust capabilities from U.S. companies to deliver crew and critical scientific experiments from American soil to the space station throughout its lifespan.”

For the latest on Commercial Crew progress, bookmark the program’s blog at: blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

NASA Space Place – Our Solar System Is Almost Normal, But Not Quite

Poster’s Note: One of the many under-appreciated aspects of NASA is the extent to which it publishes quality science content for children and Ph.D.’s alike. NASA Space Place has been providing general audience articles for quite some time that are freely available for download and republishing. Your tax dollars help promote science! The following article was provided for reprinting in November, 2015.

By Dr. Ethan Siegel

2013february2_spaceplaceIt was just over 20 years ago that the very first exoplanet was found and confirmed to be orbiting a star not so different from our own sun. Fast forward to the present day, and the stellar wobble method, wherein the gravitational tug of a planet perturbs a star’s motion, has been surpassed in success by the transit method, wherein a planet transits across the disk of its parent star, blocking a portion of its light in a periodic fashion. Thanks to these methods and NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, we’ve identified many thousands of candidate planets, with nearly 2,000 of them having been confirmed, and their masses and densities measured.

The gas giants found in our solar system actually turn out to be remarkably typical: Jupiter-mass planets are very common, with less-massive and more-massive giants both extremely common. Saturn—the least dense world in our solar system—is actually of a fairly typical density for a gas giant world. It turns out that there are many planets out there with Saturn’s density or less. The rocky worlds are a little harder to quantify, because our methods and missions are much better at finding higher-mass planets than low-mass ones. Nevertheless, the lowest mass planets found are comparable to Earth and Venus, and range from just as dense to slightly less dense. We also find that we fall right into the middle of the “bell curve” for how old planetary systems are: we’re definitely typical in that regard.

But there are a few big surprises, which is to say there are three major ways our solar system is an outlier among the planets we’ve observed:

• All our solar system’s planets are significantly farther out than the average distance for exoplanets around their stars. More than half of the planets we’ve discovered are closer to their star than Mercury is to ours, which might be a selection effect (closer planets are easier to find), but it might indicate a way our star is unusual: being devoid of very close-in planets.

• All eight of our solar system’s planets’ orbits are highly circular, with even the eccentric Mars and Mercury only having a few percent deviation from a perfect circle. But most exoplanets have significant eccentricities, which could indicate something unusual about us.

• And finally, one of the most common classes of exoplanet—a super-Earth or mini-Neptune, with 1.5-to-10 times the mass of Earth—is completely missing from our solar system.

Until we develop the technology to probe for lower-mass planets at even greater distances around other star systems, we won’t truly know for certain how unusual we really are!

This article was provided by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.


Caption: NASA / Kepler Dan Fabricky (L), of a selection of the known Kepler exoplanets; Rebecca G. Martin and Mario Livio (2015) ApJ 810, 105 (R), of 287 confirmed exoplanets relative to our eight solar system planets.

About NASA Space Place

With articles, activities, crafts, games, and lesson plans, NASA Space Place encourages everyone to get excited about science and technology. Visit spaceplace.nasa.gov (facebook|twitter) to explore space and Earth science!