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Constance Meadors Named Director of Arkansas Space Grant Consortium

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The University of Arkansas at Little Rock on Tuesday announced that Constance Meadors has been named director of the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium and NASA Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program.

Meadors is the first African American and first woman space grant director for the state of Arkansas, as well as the first African American woman space grant director in the U.S. She follows Keith Hudson, who has moved to a role as director emeritus of the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.

Meadors joined UA Little Rock in 2023 as the associate director of the consortium, a partnership between 17 four-year universities and colleges across Arkansas that’s dedicated to advancing space science education, research, and public outreach.

UA Little Rock said she brings a wealth of space research and NASA experience to her new role. 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). 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 also established and led the NASA EPSCoR program, created the MUREP Kennedy Space Center Courageous Conversations Series and hosted NASA’s first Juneteenth Celebration in 2021.

“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity,” Meadors said of her new role. “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.”

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 holds a bachelor’s in physics from Grambling State University, a master’s in applied science with a focus on instrumentation and a Ph.D. in 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.

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