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2020 LIFT Project Application

We no longer accepting applications for the 2020 LIFT Project. Please check back here again next fall!

Application Deadline

October 31, 2019

Overview of Program

The LIFT Project is a multi-disciplinary outreach program, funded by the National Science Foundation, that brings together UW undergraduate students from science, engineering, and education backgrounds for the purpose of developing authentic K-12 scientific projects and curricula for high-altitude ballooning. Students will work in small teams and be paired with a partner teacher from a K-12 school in Wyoming. Each team will undertake a specific science- or engineering-related project, which includes: (1) designing and testing a balloon payload to be launched with a high-altitude weather balloon to near space (~100,000 ft above sea level), and (2) developing relevant curriculum, lessons, and activities. When finished, the teams will have the opportunity to carry out their projects in their partner teacher’s classroom, culminating in a high-altitude balloon launch in Fall 2020. Mentors will regularly meet with the teams to provide guidance, help with project design, and offer feedback.

Program Duration

Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters


Open to all UW undergraduate students. However, high priority will be given to sophomores and juniors majoring in the physical sciences, engineering, and education. Students must be enrolled during both the Spring 2020 and Fall 2020 semesters and should not be planning on graduating any earlier than May 2021.

What To Expect
  • Students chosen for the program will be assembled into teams of three (3). Teams are typically composed of two (2) science/engineering students and one (1) education student.
  • Each team will work together to brainstorm, develop, and carry out their own project focusing on either science- or engineering-related concepts. The projects will be aimed at K-12 classrooms, with a specific focus on the grade levels taught by the partner teachers.
  • Teams will be responsible for designing and building their own balloon payloads from scratch. This will be the primary responsibility of the science/engineering students. Depending on the scope of each project, the payloads may be fairly simple or perhaps more sophisticated.
  • Teams will also be responsible for developing the curriculum for their project, which includes: (1) pre-launch lessons/activities intended to teach the concepts and prepare the K-12 classrooms for the launch, and (2) post-launch lessons/activities for follow-up or data analysis. This will be the primary responsibility of the education students. The teams are expected to deliver (i.e., teach) these lessons/activities to the K-12 classrooms during Fall 2020, either in person or remotely, in collaboration with their partner teachers.
  • Teams should be present for and participate in all balloon launches associated with their project. (Note: the actual launches will be conducted by experienced LIFT Project staff members.)
  • Students are expected to spend an average of 8-10 hours/week working on the project
  • Students must be able to meet at least once per week with their teams and/or project mentors
  • Some occasional travel is necessary, especially during Fall 2020. Students should be available to participate in several (about 4-5) multi-day trips during the program, for balloon launches and for in-person visits to their partner teacher’s classroom. If necessary, we can help students obtain university-excused absences.
  • Students can earn a stipend of up to $2,250/year ($1,125/semester)
  • All travel-related expenses (including meals) are covered
  • Summer internships may also be available
  • Looks great on a resume!