Two Merced College students have earned the right to rub elbows with NASA scientists next month.
Alvin Collier and Angelica Walker, both students at Merced College, have been selected to attend the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) Onsite Experience at NASA Ames Research Center at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif., Oct. 8-11, 2019.
Collier and Walker were chosen from a field of 499 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS. Collier and Walker have already successfully completed a five-week online course to prepare for the October trip.
The computer science students are among seven Merced College students who have participated in the NCAS program in the past six years, said computer science department professor Kathleen Kanemoto.
The NCAS program is specifically designed for community college students who may not follow a traditional path towards careers in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
During the four-day visit to the Ames Research Center, students learn more about those types of careers and gain valuable exposure to NASA resources and staff.
They will also form teams to establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team will develop and test a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.
The Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP) funds NCAS. MUREP engages underrepresented and underserved students in STEM activities and career exploration through hands-on, authentic learning experiences. The goal is to develop and sustain a diverse workforce.
Walker was also accepted into NASA’s L-Space Virtual Academy for 2019. This year, the Walker will work with groups developing missions to explore asteroids from Jupiter. Again, it’s a NASA effort to engage college students historically underrepresented in space exploration. The NCAS and L’Space Virtual Academy both open doors to future careers at NASA.
During the October seminar at Moffett Airfield, Collier and Walker will join the NASA tradition of engaging the nation in NASA’s mission of exploration.
“NCAS alumni often move on to NASA internships and ultimately enter the NASA workforce,” says Torry Johnson, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager. ”It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague.”
For more information on Collier and Walker, please call the Merced College Office of External Relations at 209-384-6176 or email at email@example.com.
For additional information on the National Community College Aerospace Scholars, email the staff at JSC-NCAS@mail.nasa.gov or call at 281-244-0104.
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