Raritan Valley Community College student Andrew Christopher has been selected to travel to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia this spring to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS). The Clinton Township resident has been selected as one of 216 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS. Christopher, an Engineering Science major at RVCC, expects to graduate in May 2017.
The five-week online scholars program, which was held in January and February, culminates with a fourday on-site event in May at Langley Research Center. The program 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 on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts. NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or 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. After graduating from RVCC, Christopher plans to transfer to a four-year school to pursue a Bachelor’s Degree in either Mechanical or Aerospace Engineering and then enter a Master’s Degree program abroad in Aerospace Engineering. His career goals include working at NASA as an engineer, focusing on propulsion innovation.
“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 ultimately entering the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” said Tania B. Davis, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager. For more information, contact National Community College Aerospace Scholars at JSCNCAS@mail.nasa.gov or by phone at 281-483-0493. For additional information, visit: http://ncas.aerospacescholars.org/. For more information about MUREP, visit www.nasa.gov/education/murep.