U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

U.S. Department of Defense - Missile Defense Agency

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MDA STEM Initiatives

Stem Initiatives

Ms. Jacqueline Martin, STEM Lead, receives 2021 Summer Military Academy Interns, Midshipmen Nilda Sanchez-Gonzalez and Oleksiy Lakei.


  • Engineering Innovation MDA Engineering Innovation (EI) inspires rising 3rd- and 4th-grade students to study the engineering design process. EI provides students the opportunity to participate in hands-on science projects. This program partners with Girls Inc. and the James A. Lane Boys & Girls Club in Huntsville, AL. Throughout the week, students create their own STEM projects and learn how to apply art elements, the engineering design process and scientific concepts (knowledge) to create projects (outcome), showing the impact of science and engineering through observation. The week concludes with participants displaying their works of art at the MDA Engineering Innovation Exhibits where students share redesign suggestions and relay newfound knowledge to MDA personnel and parents.
  • Military Academy Internships MDA Military Academy Internships (MAI) provides the opportunity for U.S. Military Academy cadets, U.S. Air Force Academy cadets, and U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen to participate in real-world projects with the MDA Advanced Research and Architecture and Concepts Divisions. The month-long internships provide the opportunity for interns to develop new technical skills and work with top-notch professionals, placing them at the cutting edge of some of the most critical aspects of national security affairs.
  • MDA Classroom Speakers MDA Classroom Speakers raise awareness of STEM disciplines and their application to missile defense in K-12 grade classrooms and STEM events geographically located near MDA locations. When requesting an MDA Speaker, please note that speaking engagement requests can take up to 60 business days to process.
  • MDA IGNITE MDA's Inspiring Generations with New Ideas to Transform Education (IGNITE) program is an educational initiative that aims to transform K-12 STEM education and teachers in development of the STEM pipeline, with a focus on underserved communities. IGNITE has three different program elements: (1) Exploring Collaborations to Inspire Transformations in Education (EXCITE), (2) Data Evaluation from Testing via an Educational Challenge with Teachers and Students (DETECTS), and (3) Realizing Alternatives and Multiple Pathways by Unlocking your Potential (RAMP UP). EXCITE encompasses collaboration among elementary, middle, and high school students in a hands-on, project-based challenge completed within a school semester. DETECTS is a hands-on, project-based, long-term engagement educational opportunity where teams of high school students develop projects over two school semesters. RAMP UP engages pre-service and in-service teachers in professional development training via hands-on, problem/project-based learning experiences.
  • MDA BEST Robotics Grants MDA Boosting Engineering, Science, and Technology (BEST) Robotics Grants allow novice and veteran official BEST Robotics local competition hubs the opportunity to purchase robotics kits and offer teachers robotics training.. Grants advance K-12 STEM awareness and engagement.
  • MDA STEM Focus Group MDA STEM Focus Group facilitates the sharing and coordination of STEM activities, needs, and resources among educators (K-12 and college), government, professional societies, industry, non-profits, and community organizations.