The NASA JOVE easy scholarship, though a meager $500/semester, is a surefire resume-booster with numerous advantages to undergraduate students in the physical sciences and mathematics at participating universities. To be eligible, students must major in mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology, or astronomy and maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher. Benefits include experience performing independent research in real unsolved problems, and experience in the same type of guided research to be performed later in graduate programs. NASA JOVE (JOint VEnture) scholars are awarded 1 credit hour per semester for a Special Topics in Space Science course during their first year.
Twice per semester, near the beginning and end, students are allotted 15 minutes to present their problem and work to other students in the Space Science class and professors who advise student researchers. One additional requirement is that students include a Space Science concentration in their degree, which in turn requires an additional course depending upon the student’s major. For physics and mathematics, the course requires is Introduction to Astrophysics. NASA JOVE students are selected by faculty, but a student who meets the requirements may request to join. Research performed in this program is normally acceptable as an undergraduate thesis, provided the student’s findings are original and of sufficient breadth and scope.
Students who take part in solving their assigned problem or contributing significantly to their assigned topic are credited for their work, so this program affords students the opportunity to work as honest-to-goodness scientists as they develop skills to be used throughout their career. Be wary, prospective NASA JOVE scholars, as future employers might not believe you when you inform them of your background in NASA research. Be sure to have professors write a letter to verify your involvement with the program or its power resume-boosting benefit may not be yours to claim. Remember that you will be doing REAL scientific WORK — this is not the same as a class assignment, and it can require a real commitment. Maintain scientific integrity, and above all, HAVE FUN!