Elgin Community College Student Angela M. Andrada will be one of 304 community college students nationwide who move closer to a career in the aeronautics industry as part of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program (NCAS). The four-day program will be held in September at NASA's Langley Research Center outside of Washington, D.C.
Andrada, of Elgin, will interact with NASA engineers and others at Langley as she and other scholars learn more about careers in science and engineering. Scholars also will tour the center and attend NASA briefings before forming teams and establishing fictional companies interested in Mars exploration.
Each team will develop and test a prototype rover, form a company infrastructure, manage a budget, and develop communications and outreach.
By her participation in the program, Andrada hopes not only to encourage girls to consider careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), but not let gender and racial stereotypes undermine their self-confidence while doing so.
"I want to inspire others to persevere through financial adversity and academic struggles as well," said Andrada, who is the current vice president of ECC's Rho Kappa Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society. "This experience is the best launching pad from which I can further inspire younger generations of science-lovers to reach for heights that may seem farther away than the stars."
NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP), which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved STEM students in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.
"NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA," said MUREP Manager Joeletta Patrick. "NCAS has a legacy of alumni moving from NASA internships to ultimately entering the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague."
For more information about the program, visit ncas.aerospacescholars.org/.