Thirty-two community college students from 14 states will travel to NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Wallops Flight Facility Sep. 23 – 27, 2018, to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS).

Through NCAS, a five-week online activity culminates with a five-day on-site event at a NASA 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 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 onsite experience at NASA includes briefings by NASA subject matter experts, information on how to apply for internships and a tour of NASA’s unique facilities.

At Wallops, the students will learn about the suborbital and special orbital missions conducted at the facility and around the world.  This is the first NCAS conducted at Wallops. “This is a unique NASA experience for community college students to use workplace skills, and to understand how science, technology, engineering and mathematic subjects are applied in the real world,” said Victoria Danna, education manager of the Wallops NCAS experience.

NCAS is an activity funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.  With this activity, NASA continues the agency’s tradition of engaging the nation in NASA’s mission.

“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA.  NCAS has a legacy of alumni moving from NASA internships to and ultimately entering the NASA workforce.  It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” Joeletta Patrick, MUREP manager.

The students visiting Wallops are 32 of 319 community college students from across the U.S. participating in the NCAS onsite experience at a NASA Center.

For additional information about NCAS, please contact NASA 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/.