Involving K-12 teachers is a good way to boost young students' interest in science, technology, math and engineering, Snowden said. Raising that interest level is one of the chief goals of the grant, she said, and that's an easier task when teachers are able to incorporate projects like this one into their classes.
OU officials have been looking to expand the university's radar expertise beyond weather-related applications and into other areas, such as defense and security. Included in that effort is the construction of the $15 million Radar Innovations Lab, which will house the new NASA research project. University officials broke ground on the lab this month.
Yeary said he thinks the NASA project fits well with that goal, moving beyond an area where the university already has an established presence and into a new field.
“It just greatly builds on the weather strengths that we have,” he said.