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The Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative

The Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative

A Working Partnership Between Southwestern Community College & NASA

The logo for the Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative.        

Southwestern Community College is proud to have been awarded a grant [#NNX16AB87A] from NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) to enrich STEM education in our schools and communities. As part of the Smoky Mountain STEM Collaborative, SCC works with local partners to expand opportunities for STEM education in western North Carolina including: Appalachian State University, the Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, Cherokee Central Schools, Jackson County Public Schools, Macon County Public Schools, and Swain County Public Schools.

Mission Statement

The Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative is a STEM education ecosystem project serving learners in the southern Appalachians of western North Carolina.

We work with learners from a diverse population, including enrolled members of the Eastern Band of the Cherokee Indians and many first-generation college students. These learners are underrepresented not only in STEM fields, but higher education in general. Our continuing mission is to expand and engage the region's public schools, tribal schools, community colleges, and universities in a cohesive, learner-centered STEM ecosystem that leverages Subject Matter Experts (SME's) and science centers to achieve NASA's mission to help learners of all ages "do" science in their own communities.

Core Values

We aim to enrich and sustain rural Appalachia's STEM Ecosystem through increasing scientific literacy and improving the individual science identity of the people in western North Carolina with persistent access to NASA resources.

The Smoky Mountains STEM Collaborative is for all ages. From youth programs and in-school activities such as library programming and undergraduate research experiences, celestial viewing events in parks for the public, science symposiums with STEM professionals and more, the SMSC invites the community to engage with science. Job opportunities in STEM fields are expected to continue to grow in the coming years. The local, state and federal workers involved in STEM jobs range from park rangers and teachers to surgeons and astronauts. Many take care of our most basic needs, like our daily need for clean water and electricity.


The material contained in this section of our website is based upon work supported by a National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) cooperative agreement NNX16AB87A. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of NASA.

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