Space Force welcomes North Carolina A&T to the University Partnership Program

  • Published
  • By Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs
The U.S. Space Force added North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University to its University Partnership Program during a virtual ceremony Dec. 1.
N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. and Vice Chief of Space Operations Gen. David D. Thompson signed the memorandum of understanding from their respective locations on campus in East Greensboro, North Carolina and at the Pentagon.
“Just over a year ago, I visited the campus of North Carolina A&T when we were first developing the concept for the University Partnership Program,” Thompson said. “From that first conversation with Chancellor Martin and University leaders, we knew A&T would be a model institution and critical partner to the Space Force as we built the initiative to deliver a STEM-focused workforce and advance space-related research of importance to the nation.”
Establishing strategic partnerships with a select set of nationally-renowned universities allows the Space Force to recruit and educate a diverse, high-caliber workforce, offer opportunities to advance research in specific areas of interest, and develop a 21st century, technology-savvy military service. 
Research and leadership development are the largest facets of the program.
“This collaboration between our university and the U.S. Space Force will transform the way we equip our students to succeed in military and civil service with our nation’s most recent innovative branch,” said Martin. “Our partnership will help expand their potential to not only be globally competitive, but to be universal ‘guardians,’ explorers and contributors to our understanding and protection of space.”
A&T is one of 11 universities initially selected to join the UPP. The other universities are Georgia Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Purdue University, University of Colorado Boulder and Colorado Springs, University of North Dakota, University of Southern California, University of Texas Austin and El Paso, and the University of Texas system.
The UPP institutions were selected based on four criteria: the quality of STEM degree offerings and space-related research laboratories and initiatives; ROTC program strength; diversity of student population; and degrees and programming designed to support military, veterans, and their families in pursuing higher education.
A&T is the top producer of African American undergraduates in agriculture and engineering, as well as master’s graduates in mathematics and statistics. As a member of the UPP, A&T will not only create a pipeline for students to pursue aerospace careers upon graduating with STEM-related degrees, but also provide expanded research opportunities for students and faculty – particularly in the College of Engineering, College of Science and Technology, Joint School of Nanoscience and Nanoengineering and multiple centers of excellence.