NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) is a federally mandated grant, internship, and scholarship program that is funded as a part of NASA Education. There are Space Grant Consortia in all 50 states, plus Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico. NASA CTSGC, in an effort to encourage broader participation in NASA research programs, was formed in 1991 by the following post-secondary education institutions: Trinity College, University of Connecticut, and University of New Haven with the University of Hartford as the lead institution.

The CTSGC Purpose

  • Inspire the pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), especially within groups who have traditionally been underrepresented within the STEM disciplines
  • Be the model for STEM-based professional development
  • Contribute to the development of Connecticut’s economy and STEM pipeline
  • Provide an environment in which all stakeholders understand and contribute to the Consortium’s mission.

The CTSGC Mission

The mission of the NASA CTSGC is to further the efforts started through NASA’s Education Strategic Framework, Lines of Business, and the National Space Grant Program Goals and Objectives. Specifically, NASA CTSGC has three major goals:

  • To establish and promote NASA-related research opportunities that draw on the collaborative strength of private, academic, and government sectors
  • To support education initiatives that will inspire students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM)
  • To promote workforce development that recognizes the current and future needs of the Connecticut economy.

Affiliate Members and Campus Directors

NASA CTSGC is headquartered at the University of Hartford. Each affiliate institution has a Campus Director. If you are interested in any Space Grant opportunities or activities at any of these institutions please contact the Campus Director using the information listed below:

Affiliated Connecticut Community Colleges

CT State –

Professor Amely Cross

[email protected]

170 Elm Street
Enfield, CT 06082

CT State –

Dr. Cleo Rolle

[email protected]

Room 905
950 Main Street
Hartford, CT 06103

CT State –

Professor Susan Spencer

[email protected]

20 Church St. S401E
New Haven, CT 06510

CT State –



900 Lafayette Boulevard
Bridgeport, CT 06604

CT State –

Dr. Fatma Salman

[email protected]

1 Great Path,
MS #6, PO Box 1046
Manchester, CT 06045

CT State –

Dr. Lin Lin

[email protected]

Wheaton 313
100 Training Hill Road
Middletown, CT 06457

CT State –
Naugatuck Valley

Dr. Peter Angelastro

[email protected]

Ekstrom Hall, Room E521
750 Chase Parkway
Waterbury, CT 06708

CT State –

Professor Douglas Hoffman

[email protected]

Greenwood Hall, GW 217
Park Place East
Winsted, CT 06098

CT State –

Dr. Mobin Rastgar Agah

[email protected]

Room W008
188 Richards Ave
Norwalk, CT 06854

CT State –
Quinebaug Valley

Professor Jakob Spjut

[email protected]

742 Upper Maple Street
Danielson, CT 06239

CT State –
Three Rivers

Professor James Doran

(860) 449-4498
[email protected]

574 New London Turnpike
Norwich, CT 06360

CT State –

Dr. Karen Wosczyna-Birch

[email protected]

271 Scott Swamp Road
Farmington, CT 06032

Affiliated Connecticut Colleges & Universities

Central Connecticut State University

Dr. Luz Amaya

[email protected]

Applied Innovation Hub 315
1615 Stanley Street
New Britain, CT 06050
Eastern Connecticut State University

Dr. Elizabeth A. Cowles

[email protected]

361 Science Building
83 Windham Street
Willimantic, CT 06226
Fairfield University

Dr. Harvey Hoffman

203.254.4000 x 3080
[email protected]

Room 120 – Bannow Science Center
1073 N. Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824
Quinnipiac University

 Dr. Lynn Byers

[email protected] 

Comms, Computing & Engineering 16
275 Mount Carmel Avenue
Hamden, CT 06518
Southern Connecticut State University

Dr. Dana Casetti

[email protected]

ASL 118 F
501 Crescent Street
New Haven, CT 06515
Trinity College

Dr. Clayton Byers

[email protected]

MECC 385

300 Summit Street
Hartford, CT 06106

University of Bridgeport

 Dr. Jani Pallis

[email protected]

 Engineering – Technology Bldg – Office 133

221 University Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

University of Connecticut

 Dr. Jason Lee

[email protected]

Engineering II Building room 308
191 Auditorium Road Unit 3139
Storrs, CT 06269-3139
University of Hartford

Dr. Brian Wells

[email protected]

Dana 219
200 Bloomfield Ave
West Hartford, CT 06117
University of New Haven

Dr. Chong Qiu

[email protected]

Buckman Hall 321
300 Orange Avenue
West Haven, CT 06516
Wesleyan University

Dr. Seth Redfield

[email protected]

Van Vleck Observatory 101
96 Foss Hill Dr.
Middletown, CT 06059
Yale University

Dr. Andrew Szymkowiak

[email protected]

Yale Physics
P.O. Box 208120
New Haven, CT 06520-8120


Funded Programs

Funds available through NASA CTSGC are distributed through various programs:

Student Opportunities: Internships, Fellowships, and Scholarships

Faculty Opportunities

  • Faculty: Faculty Research, Faculty-Student Summer Research, STEM Education Research, Faculty Travel Grant, STEM Education Program

K-12 Opportunities

  • Pre-College: school districts, schools, students, and teachers to support activities and workshops that are focused on aeronautics and aerospace and/or STEM-related activities

Informal Education Opportunities

  • Informal Education: museums and other informal education settings to support activities that are focused on aeronautics and aerospace and/or STEM-related activities

External Advisory Board

Hisham Alnajjar, Ph.D. Dean of CETA University of Hartford

Hisham Alnajjar, Ph.D.
Dean of CETA, University of Hartford

Dr. Alnajjar is the Dean of the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture (CETA) at the University of Hartford. He has served in different capacities at the College, including Chair of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Assistant Dean, Associate Dean, Director of the Engineering Application Center, and most recently the Director of the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium. During his time as Director of the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium, one of his focuses was to inspire the pursuit of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), especially within groups who have traditionally been underrepresented within the STEM disciplines

Beyond the administrative responsibilities, Dr. Alnajjar continues to connect with students in the College through teaching a junior course in Engineering Practice, focusing on the business aspects of engineering designs.

Dr. Alnajjar is a PhD graduate from Vanderbilt University with research interests in sensor array processing, digital signal processing, power systems, and engineering education. He has worked extensively in signal and image processing including character recognition.

He may be reached at [email protected]

Ken Anthony, Dir. of Professional Development & Research, CT After School Network

Kenneth Anthony
Director of Professional Development and Research, Connecticut After School Network

Ken is the Director of Professional Development and Research for the Connecticut After School Network. Being in the field for the past 25 years, Ken has worked as a front line staff, site supervisor, program director, district coordinator, to his current position for the past ten years. His primary role at the Network is to oversee training, professional and leadership development, program consultation, quality advising, and support research efforts.

Published in the Journal of Expanded Learning Opportunities and Afterschool Matters Journal, Ken has also authored a chapter on Research-Practitioner Partnerships in the book The Growing Out-of School Time Field, published by International Age Press.  He serves on the editorial boards for the Afterschool Matters Journal, the Journal of Youth Development, and Information Age Publishing Out-of-School Time Series.

Ken holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a concentration in Child Development from Southern Connecticut State University; a Master’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Organizational Management & Leadership from Springfield College, and was part of the inaugural class of White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellows. Ken completed his Doctorate in Educational Leadership at the University of Hartford in 2015, where he researched expanded learning practices that build sustainable relationships and partnerships between school and afterschool program staff. This is a topic that he is passionate about and has frequently presented to state and national audiences.

Muhammad Arif Program Manager, ISS, Collins Aerospace


Muhammad Arif
Program Manager, International Space Station, Collins Aerospace

Muhammad Arif is currently the Program Manager for the International Space Station (ISS) at Collins Aerospace in Windsor Locks, CT.  He is responsible for the development, production and maintenance of Environmental Control and Life Supporting Systems, which allow the astronauts to inhabit the ISS for extended periods of time.  Mr. Arif has worked in the aerospace industry for over 20 years.  Previously, he worked at Pratt & Whitney as the Program Manager for F135 military fighter engine.  Prior to that he worked as an Engineering Manager at Hamilton Sundstrand.  He holds a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Columbia University, an MS in Mechanical Engineering and an MBA from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.  In his spare time, Mr. Arif enjoys bird-watching, martial arts, and traveling with his family.

Amanda Goodheart Parks, Ph.D. Dir. of Education, New England Air Museum


Amanda Goodheart Parks, Ph.D.
Director of Education, New England Air Museum

Amanda Goodheart Parks is a museum educator and public historian with more than a decade of experience in the museum field. She earned her B.A.S. in Secondary Education and History from Salve Regina University, and is a licensed educator in Massachusetts and Connecticut at the secondary level. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and she currently serves as the Director of Education at the New England Air Museum.


Michael A. Rooke, Ph.D. President Northwestern CT Community College

Michael A. Rooke, Ph.D.

President, Northwestern CT Community College

Dr. Michael Rooke currently serves as president of Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and has served for over 10 years within the Connecticut State Colleges & Universities System.  Prior to joining NCCC, Dr. Rooke was Chief Academic Officer at Tunxis Community College in Farmington, and also served as Director of the Business, Engineering & Technologies Division at Manchester Community College.  From 1996-2003, he served as assistant and associate professor at the University of Hartford.  He holds a Ph.D. degree in Chemistry from Kansas State University, an M.S. degree in Educational Technology from Long Island University and a B.Sc(Hons) degree in applied chemistry from Nottingham Trent University, U.K.. While at Manchester Community College and Tunxis Community College, Dr. Rooke recruited and advised over 200 engineering and manufacturing students, assisting them with transfer to universities.  He now works closely with local businesses in the north-west corner of CT through the chamber to align the engineering and manufacturing programs at the college with local industry.

Jennifer Widness

Jennifer Widness President, CT Conference of Independent Colleges

Jennifer Widness
President, Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges

Jennifer Widness is president of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges (CCIC), a voluntary association of 15 private, nonprofit colleges and universities located in Connecticut whose Board of Directors is comprised of the Presidents of CCIC’s member institutions.

CCIC provides public policy leadership and support of higher education, fosters cooperative efforts among colleges and universities and serves as a liaison between the state and the independent institutions. Jen served as Vice President of CCIC from January 2011 until she was named president in June 2015.

Prior to joining CCIC, Jen worked at the Connecticut State Department of Education legal division as a staff attorney and legislative liaison. Before that she worked as an associate in the litigation practice group at Carmody and Torrance, LLP.  Prior to attending law school, Jen worked on public policy for a national non-profit organization in Washington, D.C.

Jen serves on a number of Boards and Committees at a state, regional and national level representing Connecticut’s independent college.  She is a member of the board and chair of the Connecticut delegation to the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), a member of CT’s Preschool through Twenty Workforce Information Network (P20-WIN) Executive Board, and a member of the Student Aid Committee and the Legal Services Review Panel for the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities (NAICU).

Jen earned her law degree, cum laude, from American University in Washington, D.C. and her bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) seeks to empower diverse candidates to pursue a deeper knowledge and education in STEM fields through funding opportunities in higher education, informal education, and k-12 programs. Encouraging diversity in education opportunities helps create a more inclusive pipeline for STEM careers in the future.

Mailing address:

University of Hartford, Dana 203
200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117


NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium Staff:

Dr. Hisham Alnajjar
Interim Program Director
[email protected]
Dr. Yingcui Li
Associate Director
[email protected]
Mrs. Janet Spatcher
Program Manager
[email protected]
860.768.4813 – Phone
860.768.5073 – Fax
Mrs. April Michaud
Program Coordinator
[email protected]


Follow us: