Instructor Brings NASA Presence To Aims Community College

Lee McMains teaching students in a classroom on the Aims Greeley campus. Image Credit: Aims Community College

Lee McMains teaching students in a classroom on the Aims Greeley campus. Image Credit: Aims Community College

October 18, 2016 – Aims Community College’s Applied and Environmental Technologies instructor, Lee McMains, was recently recognized by the Colorado Space Grant Consortium (COSGC) for his efforts and leadership as affiliate director of the Aims program of COSGC.

COSGC is a statewide program and part of a national program funded by NASA. The program supports undergraduate and graduate students in the areas of research, hands-on engineering and science and Space Grant sponsored courses. COSGC includes 20 higher education institutions and the Space Foundation.

“It’s exciting to be a part of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium program,” said Aims’ President Dr. Leah L. Bornstein. “Thanks to Lee’s hard work and dedication, Aims has a NASA presence on our campus and our students have opportunities to collaborate within the consortium, industry and community.”

McMains accepted the responsibility of affiliate director when COSGC approached Aims to join in 2014. Since then, he has established the Aims Engineering Academy, a COSGC-funded project where students design, build and launch a payload on a high-altitude balloon flight. His students have also participated in internships and won COSGC scholarships.

“The Engineering Academy has proven what I’ve suspected for some time: that Aims students are some of the most clever and inquisitive students around,” said McMains. “Some of our students have transferred to other consortium schools, which means they can continue participating on ‘build teams.’ Others continue their schooling out-of-state, and they take with them the spirit of Aims. I’m really impressed, quite pleased, and not at all surprised at what these kids can – and do – accomplish. The Colorado Space Grant team at CU Boulder is phenomenal; I can’t think of anyone better suited or qualified to support this operation around the state.”

Recently the COSGC members voted unanimously to incorporate Aims as a permanent COSGC affiliate institution.

A letter written by Chris Koehler, director of the COSGC, states, “Lee has become an integral part of the COSGC network. In addition to mentoring authentic, hands-on projects for Aims students, he attends payload launches, consortium events and required meetings. He continues to explore creative ways to engage an inclusive population of Aims students in statewide NASA opportunities.”