Edmonds Community College students Ben Nguyen and Rebekah Waligorski have been selected to travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center Oct. 25-28, to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS).
“Both students represent the great work that STEM students are doing here at the college, and will represent Edmonds CC well when they visit NASA Johnson Space Center,” said Rachel Wade, Edmonds Community College Physics Instructor.
Nguyen and Waligorski have been selected as two of 160 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS.
“It should be a fun learning experience and I welcome all the possibilities that can arise from this opportunity,” Nguyen said.
“Ben is an excellent student, who is always curious about physics and engineering topics. His interest in the NASA Aerospace program stems from this curiosity,” Wade said. “I expect that Ben will provide much needed technical understanding to his team during the NASA site visit.”
Nguyen is currently pursuing the Associate in Science – Track 2 – General Engineering and would like to transfer to the University of Washington.
“This is something I really wanted,” Waligorski said. “I was speechless, as I was just out of high school and already being chosen for something like this is an honor.”
“Rebekah approached me at the beginning of the quarter, interested in ways that she could get involved beyond the classroom. She was particularly interested in the NASA opportunity after hearing from one of last year’s NASA Aerospace Scholars,” Wade said.
“By the end of the quarter, I knew she was a great candidate because of her personal drive and excellent management skills. I expect that Rebekah will emerge as a team leader during the NASA site visit later this month.”
Waligorski is studying mechanical engineering and would like to transfer to Washington State University.
Nguyen and Waligorski were chosen to represent Edmonds Community College out of nearly 300 students based on their achievement in the (NCAS) online session.
In this five-week online learning session, they studied the past, present, and future of Mars exploration, took quizzes, attended lectures by NASA subject matter experts, read a technical paper, and submitted essays and a final mission proposal in order to qualify for the onsite workshop.
The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering.
While at NASA, students will form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.
The on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.
NCAS is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP), which is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to sustain a diverse workforce.
With this project, NASA continues the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s educational programs. It is directly tied to the agency’s major education goal of attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to NASA’s future missions, which include missions to Mars and beyond.
For additional information, please contact National Community College Aerospace Scholars by email at JSC-NCAS@mail.nasa.gov or by phone at 281-483-0493. For more information, visit: http://ncas.aerospacescholars.org/. For more on MUREP visit: www.nasa.gov/education/murep.