Welcome, student participants in the Nationwide Eclipse Ballooning Project (NEBP)! You are about to embark on an amazing educational journey.

In addition to the strong technical skills you will acquire in academic ballooning, NEBP offers a full complement of additional opportunities to learn and grow your skillset, especially your portfolio of career skills that are desirable to employers, such as teamwork, communication, leadership, problem solving and open-mindedness, among others.

Acquisition of many of these skills is naturally built into the technical projects as you work hard alongside teammates to prepare for the eclipses in 2023 and 2024. Other skills development will be offered via the NEBP education strand through workshops, presentations, modules and other learning formats.

In several cases, you will have the opportunity to do a deep dive into a topic that fascinates you. We will guide you throughout the process, and you will join other students across the nation on your educational pathway.

NEBP educational opportunities include:

Networking and community building

NEBP is a NASA-supported project made up of hundreds of students and faculty at dozens of instutions across the U.S., plus mentors and advisors from industry, government agencies and academia -- all there to support you. NEBP will help you expand your connections by learning with and from the other students, professionals and advisors who are part of the project.

Interactive Q&A with STEM professionals

Meet working professionals from agencies such as NASA, the National Science Foundation and the Federal Aviation Administration plus companies such as Microsoft and Boeing. NEBP Webinars will offer exclusive opportunities for student participants to learn about a variety of STEM fields and the related career skills you can start developing now. Each Webinar will include lots of time for Q&A and interaction with the guest presenters.

Career coaching and skills development

Through live workshops, recorded presentations and interactive modules, we will help you learn and practice skills such as building an online portfolio, how to take part in professional networking, communicating with teammates, and maximizing your LinkedIn profile to catch the attention of employers.

Student leadership opportunities

The NEBP learning community will include hundreds of students from all across the nation, so there will be opportunities such as leading a national online community, serving on a participant advisory council or organizing a local effort for your team and neighboring teams. These will be great opportunities to help guide the project, meet lots of people from across the U.S. and gain valuable leadership skills and experience.

Personal growth

NEBP will offer many opportunities to expand your worldview regarding who scientists and engineers are, and how people of different backgrounds and cultures think about and engage in science. You will also have many opportunities to participate in guided reflection concerning your own career path and the role you play as a member of the STEM community.

Our expectations

Being a part of the NEBP team is a rewarding — though perhaps at times challenging — experience. But it is one that will remain with you for a lifetime. It may even affect your future career! Prepare to spend many hours alongside teammates....building, bonding, experimenting and discovering. Your team leaders and pod leaders will have high expectations of you and your teammates—this is part of what makes NEBP such an enriching experience for all participants.

Our expectation is that each student participates in a minimum of 12-18 hours of career portfolio building skills while you are simultaneously learning the technical side of ballooning. This averages to about 1-2 hours per month over the course of the project.

These core skills fall into three topic areas:

Communicating Science • Teamwork and Project Management • My STEM Career

Concepts of "STEM for All," are interwoven across all three topic areas, and these concepts include

  • Diverse cultural worldview of science
  • STEM identity, and
  • Diversity, Equity, Access and Inclusion.

We anticipate that many of you will go quite a bit deeper into the topics through Learning Pathways or other aspects of the project, and we will support you on that journey.

NEBP Learning Pathways

NEBP Learning Pathways (also known as Areas of Emphasis) draw upon the educational assets outlined above and are designed for students who wish to dive deeply into an educational domain beyond the technical skills involved in engineering and atmospheric sciences.

Completing a learning pathway is optional, but it will demonstrate your commitment to exceling in a skillset to the point where you will be prepared to guide others or to apply the skills you have learned in new and diverse contexts. Completing an NEBP Learning Pathway is not meant to be quick and easy, but it will most certainly be rewarding. Students may begin a Learning Pathway at any time during the duration of the NEBP project.

NEBP Learning Pathways Topic Areas

  • STEM for All
  • Communicating Science
  • Leadership and Project Management
  • My STEM Career

How we recognize your learning pathways achievements

When you complete the requirements of a learning pathway, you will earn:

  • a custom NEBP digital badge that you can include on your LinkedIn or other professional profiles,
  • a personalized letter for your career portfolio from the NEBP project director. 
  • a certificate of achievement from NASA SciAct
  • plus other special NASA items!

Your achievements will be honored publicly in front of your peers and mentors at an annual ceremony for all Learning Pathways earners.

Your NEBP career portfolio

Throughout the NEBP project, we will support you in developing a career portfolio -- a tangible collection of your new skills, interests and achievements. Career portfolios serve the important role of encapsulating your skills in one organized place, and are particularly helpful for communicating with future employers. Career portfolios can be large or small, public or private, online or physical (the NEBP project will focus on online or "e-portfolios.")

Every participating NEBP student will be encouraged to build one to use throughout the project and carry with them even after the eclipses have come and gone.

How to participate in NEBP educational opportunities

Educational activities will begin in full swing in January 2023, at which time we will share how to access and track all your participation in NEBP STEM Career Portfolio Building skills.

This page was created at Montana State University-Bozeman. We acknowledge and honor, with respect, the Indigenous Nations on whose traditional territories the University now stands and whose historical relationships with the land continue to this day. We recognize that a land acknowledgment alone is not enough, but it is a reminder that we are on settled Indigenous land and that we must continuously learn more about these lands and people.