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Meadors Named Director of Arkansas Space Grant Consortium

Constance Meadors
Constance Meadors

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock is happy to announce Dr. Constance Meadors as the new director of the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium (ASGC) and NASA Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program.

Meadors has taken over for Dr. Keith Hudson, who is still serving the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium in a director emeritus role. Meadors’ new role comes with some historic significance as she is the first African American and first female space grant director for the state of Arkansas as well as the first African American female space grant director in the United States.

“I am only the third director since the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium began in 1991,” she said. “I think it’s a wonderful opportunity. My NASA experience started here at UA Little Rock conducting hybrid rocket research as a graduate student. Immediately upon entering the program, I was identified as the recipient of a NASA fellowship. That was the first time I became involved in NASA, and it was beyond anything I imagined as a young African American female from a small town. It feels like I have come full circle in coming back to the place where it all started.”

ASGC partners with 17 four-year universities and colleges across Arkansas, dedicated to advancing space science education, research, and public outreach. The ASGC recently partnered with six higher education institutions in Arkansas to provide funding and solar eclipse glasses for free STEM festivals where the public could watch the solar eclipse and learn about STEM activities in Arkansas. ASGC employees spent April 8 at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, where NASA scientists, partnering researchers, and citizen scientists spent the day conducting research experiments for the total solar eclipse.

“This was ground zero for NASA research in Arkansas,” Meadors said. “We had research teams launching balloons, and we completed several workshops, including one workshop where we taught citizen scientists how to use their phones to collect data during the eclipse. We had scientists join us from Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, and North and South Carolina.”

Meadors joined UA Little Rock in 2023 as the associate director of ASGC, and she brings a diverse wealth of space research and NASA experience. In the Office of STEM Engagement, she served as the first Minority Serving Institution (MSI) STEM Engagement Liaison-Faculty Fellow for NASA Intergovernmental Personnel Assignees (IPA). The NASA EPSCoR advisory council was established and led by her.

She played a key role in developing the inaugural solicitation for the Predominantly Black Institution (PBI)/Historically Black College or University (HBCU) Minority University Research Education Program (MUREP), known as the Diversity Equity Accessibility Priority for Research and Education (DEAP). She created the MUREP Kennedy Space Center Courageous Conversations Series and hosted NASA’s first Juneteenth Celebration in 2021.

Her academic experiences include K-12, community college, private, and public institutions. She has served as associate dean of arts and sciences, dean of applied science technology, chair of electronics, director of electronics engineering technology, and held many STEM teaching positions.

Meadors earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Grambling State University as well as a Master of Science in Applied Science with a focus on instrumentation and a Ph.D. in Applied Science Engineering Science and Systems from UA Little Rock. She holds the distinction of being the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in Engineering Science and Systems from UA Little Rock and the first African American and female to teach mechanical engineering at Harding University.