Welcome to NASA MAA: K1-9 STEM Education Project

The MUREP (Minority University Research and Education Project) Aerospace Academy made its debut at York College for the first time on October 17, 2015 and it replaced SEMAA (Science, Engineering, Mathematics and Aerospace Academy) Program.

Recently, York became one of the nine new NASA STEM Education sites selected through a rigorous and open competition nationally.

The predecessor to the NASA MAA was the NASA Science, Engineering, Mathematics, and Aerospace Academy, or SEMAA, which began in 1993, as a partnership between NASA Glenn Research Center and Cuyahoga Community College, Cleveland, Ohio. The York site was one of the oldest and has offered the SEMAA Program to the community since 1999. Through our previous SEMAA Program, we've served over 17,000 students since 1999.


Recognizing the need to increase the number of American youth who have an effective, authentic STEM experience each year prior to completing high school, and the need for NASA to do an internal consolidation, SEMAA was incorporated into MUREP, thus creating additional funding and learning opportunities to attract and retain underserved and underrepresented youth in grades K-12. NASA MAA advances student development through activity components that are fully integrated to form a comprehensive support system. Through its components, MAAs shall deliver: (1) Curriculum Enhancement Activities (CEA), hands-on curriculum activities relevant to NASA missions, (2) an Aerospace Education Laboratory (AEL), and (3) an innovative Family Café.


The MUREP Aerospace Academy (MAA) goals are to: improve STEM literacy by engaging K-12 students, family members, and teachers through the integration of emerging technologies; and to educate students utilizing a STEM curriculum that meets national science, technology, engineering and mathematics standards aligned to NASAs mission directorates.

The MAA awards will:

  • increase the number of historically underserved and underrepresented students interested in NASA specific STEM careers;
  • provide skills to parents/caregivers to work with and encourage their children in STEM activities and programs;
  • involve community groups, business, industry, museums, educational and professional organizations through mentoring, field trips, guest speakers, and other MAA activities; and (4) engage students in participatory activities such as hands-on-learning, research, use of advanced technology, peer support groups, and mentoring relationships with professionals working in the STEM fields.

2016 Spring NASA MAA Session underway

The MUREP Aerospace Academy (MAA) is running 8-Saturday session only for 1st to 9th graders. Thanks to the dedication and enthusiasm of NASA, the York College NASA MAA program is resuming in Spring 2016.

Our NASA MAA program offers engaging, hands-on and fun science activities for children currently in 1st-9th grades. Catch the excitement and engage in STEM activities including StarLab (star gazing), Flight Simulation, Robotics, Mindstorm EV3, Lego, Wind Tunnel, GPS, Liquid Nitrogen ice cream making, Astronaut training, cool Chemistry experiments, NASA STEM education pipeline activities, etc.   

  • Spring 2016, we're running January 30th through April 2nd ; no classes are scheduled on February 13th and March 26th, 2016.
  • We require families to arrive by 8:15 am the first day of the session to attend an Orientation Meeting to be held in AC-3D01 on January 30th , 2016.
  • NASA MAA families are highly encouraged to attend Family Café available each Saturday from 8.30 am to noon.

York MAA greatly acknowledges the generous support of NASA, which enables the current MAA session to offer state-of the-art STEM education to the greater York community. 

Con Edison has been a steadfast financial supporter of the previous SEMAA Program since 2007 and we anticipate their corporate partnership to continue in regard to the NASA MAA as well.

Spring 2016 Application Download

Call 718-262-2580 or 718-262-2079 any time for more information about NASA MAA

Past SEMAA Program @ York College and Major Highlights

Hartnell SEMAA(California) visited York College on April 12, 2014 and became the youngest STEM partner. It was a major milestone event for York SEMAA this spring and enabled 100+ visiting students and staff from California to eye-witness SEMAA activities at York and kept them abreast of what's happening with respect to SEMAA offerings at York. It was a fruitful visit as part of mutual exchange of scientific, SEMAA Family Cafe-related, and SEMAA operational information between the two sites. Details of Hartnell's visit to the York SEMAA site can be found here.

York's 15th summer session (2013) a huge success

The York College SEMAA program was in full gear last summer. Classes ran for three weeks (July 8 through July 26, 2013), Mon-Fri, from 9 am -noon, with lunch included. Thanks to an $11,000 award from our faithful partner Con Edison, we were pleased to offer classes for over 350 3rd through 6th grade students. Major highlights included 3-D Printing activities housed in York, participation in city-wide STEM EXPO, organized by the NYC Department of Education and involvement of high school students in our SEMAA Program through In-School Youth Program (ISY) affiliated with NYC Department of Youth and Community Development. Details of York's summer SEMAA activities can be found here.

Fall 2012

The York College SEMAA site had its 13th outstanding fall session with over 330 students deeply engaged in fun and enlightening NASA science activities. The kids experimented with forms of matter (solid, liquid, gas) creating non-Newtonian Goobleck, and ice cream from frozen air. There were balloons and rockets that flew out of sight, and buggy races that created great competition and team spirit. The solar system models invented by the first graders were as colorful as they were original. A generous financial support from Con Edison greatly assisted York SEMAA to bring STEM education to the community again.

Representatives from NY State Senator Shirley Huntley's office attended both weeks of graduation ceremonies to congratulate and honor both the parents and participants as well as the York SEMAA site leaders. Teachers and staff also received commendations from the NY City Council.

Fall and Winter bustling after a record 2011 summer

Our Fall session was a great success with over 300 kids enrolled once again. Our summer 2011 session saw a record number of over 830 students thanks to the support of York College, NASA, Con Edison, Time Warner Cable, our SEMAA families and other partners! This caps our exciting year in which we served a record 1,554 students from the greater Jamaica area.

We are very appreciative of our devoted SEMAA families who have donated thousands of dollars to the program. We're sincerely moved by your generosity. We also thank our partner, Time Warner Cable, for a $15,000 award last year, and especially Con Edison for once again supporting the program with a $10,000 grant. Finally we thank NY City Councilman Leroy Comrie for a $10,000 award and City commendations for our teachers, vital staff and top students. Councilman Comrie has been a devoted advocate for SEMAA and York College for many years.

Major milestone: our 10,000th student!

We honored our 10,000th student at the graduation ceremony for our spring 2010 session! This was a significant milestone after a decade of service to the Jamaica community. We heard inspiring words from Congr. Gregory Meeks and York's Provost Griffith. We also recognized our sponsor ConEdison, and heard from NASA representatives.

STS130 launch

Co-director Tim Paglione attended a NASA Education Forum and the nightlaunch of the Shuttle mission STS-130. A SEMAA 5th grade girl witnessed the launch as well, and followed the mission on-line.

SEMAA at York College

Once again Congressman Meeks secured our site record funding for 2010. We gratefully acknowledge his advocacy and the work of his staff and York College in improving our site's sustainability. We are also grateful to ConEdison for a $10,000 grant last year. Their support allowed us to expand to include two new first grade classes last fall. The children of Jamaica and SEMAA staff are deeply appreciative and thank everyone for the support. We acknowledge all our sponsors in the video as well as at the bottom of this page.

If you haven't already viewed our exciting SEMAA videos, please click on the links in the side banner. Special thanks to Daniel Phelps and the rest of the York TV Studio crew for their vision and talented work.

From the York College 2006-07 annual report

At York College of the City University of New York, the SEMAA program has become a relied-upon institution for the school and the community. We had an incredibly exciting year both in and out of the classroom with many visitors, special events, new schedules, new fund raising activities, new faces, broad support from the College, and enhanced interaction with elected officials. In sports terms, we emerged from a "rebuilding year" in which we welcomed many new families (our SEMAA alumni have grown up!), and laid plans for recruitment, partnerships, and fundraising that are sure to help SEMAA at York truly take off in 2008!

paper planes

Special Events and Program Highlights

By far, our most exciting event this past year was hosting the inspirational and record-setting aviator Barrington Irving. NASA, SEMAA, College, and community officials were on hand to welcome Mr. Irving and over 200 participants to a rousing luncheon. SEMAA and the College received wonderful TV exposure, and it was the perfect venue for ConEdison to announce its financial contribution to the site as well. All of our new partners attended including the Federal Aviation Administration and the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum.

Other highlights included:

  • Served over 700 3rd - 9th graders from southeast Queens, the most diverse county in the nation, plus over 200 of their family members
  • Ran our first winter session overflowing with participants
  • Created a vigorous fundraising program with the College's new Executive Director of Development and Alumni Affairs
  • Hosted the Ash Institute evaluation visit for the Innovations in American Government Award
  • Hosted Congressman Gregory Meeks several times
  • Participated in community events for careers and education
  • Included York College Teacher Academy students as SEMAA summer aides
  • Produced a new marketing video for the site

The SEMAA Experience at York College

The program continues to offer the great hands-on activities and curriculum developed by NASA and specifically targeting students from backgrounds not well represented in the sciences. As in the greater Jamaica area, our participants are primarily minorities. The unique feature of SEMAA is its inspiring and engaging activities and the involvement of the parents:

  • The Parent Cafe, with our award-winning coordinator Unadai Deepan, hosted Congressman Meeks, Assemblyman Scarborough, the Day Care Council, the Early College Academy, the GRADS Foundation mentor group, Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning, among others
  • Students designed, constructed and operated various aircraft, robots, rockets, chemistry experiments and more
  • 6th - 9th grades participated in the Aerospace Education Lab (AEL) stations with robotics, GPS, weather monitor, wind tunnel, and flight simulator
  • 3rd - 5th grades took part in Starlab activities to recognize constellations, discover how the Moon goes through phases, and why the seasons happen
  • Outreach milestones included CUNY month tours, and daily use of the AEL by 12th graders from the summer College Now program at CUNY

Hopes for the Site's Future

We anticipate a full program for the coming year with stable funding, rejuvenated recruitment, and an excellent experience at its heart. We look forward to reinstating the full-day summer program in 2015, and to enhancing innovative partnerships with the Intrepid, GRADS Foundation, FAA, Communication Technology, and Aviation Management.

AEL simrobotics

Please feel free to contact us any time for information and applications.

Financial Supporters of SEMAA at York '07-'14

NASA, Glen Research Center
US Congressman Gregory Meeks
York College, CUNY
Time Warner Cable
New York City Councilman Leroy Comrie
SEMAA Families
NYC Dept. of Ed. Summer Lunch Program
Port Authority of NY and NJ

Thank you!

What is SEMAA?



MAA at York College
  • 94-20 Guy R. Brewer Blvd.
    Jamaica, NY 11451
  • 718-262-2580, 718-262-2580
  • Fax 718-262-3751