Jennifer Weir of Madison, an engineering science student at County College of Morris (CCM), will be spending part of her fall taking part in the National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
A three-day learning program, NCAS is based on the Texas Community College Aerospace Scholars program originally created by the State of Texas in partnership with NASA and the Texas educational community. The program is designed to encourage community and junior college students to enter careers in science and engineering and ultimately join the nation’s highly technical workforce.
NCAS is a very selective program. Only 180 students were selected nationwide to participate in its online learning program this year. Of those, only 40 were selected to be flown to the Marshall Space Flight Center to attend the onsite learning program October 23 – 25.
At the flight center, the student participants will be involved in planning and budgeting a Mars rover project for a fictional company. They also will get to interact with NASA employees and learn more about specific careers in aeronautics and engineering.
“I'm wildly excited,” said Weir, anticipating her visit to Huntsville. “I'm excited to meet in person some of the other students with whom I've corresponded throughout this program.”
Weir first learned about the opportunity when she saw an article in the student newspaper, The Youngtown Edition, about another CCM student, Harry Frasca, who had taken part in the program. Frasca participated in the 2010 program in Houston and has been an advocate ever since. So when the chair of the Engineering department, Professor Venancio Fuentes, sent an email to students with the latest program flyer, Weir immediately applied.
Weir hopes to become a materials engineer and already has several four-year schools in mind for earning her bachelor’s degree. She hopes this experience will help her learn more about her chosen field and make some connections with students and NASA staff that could potentially open doors for her in the future.