It was an out of this world opportunity like no other! NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) selected RC student Yuritza Neri to attend the NCAS Virtual Experience September 13-23. Yuritza’s successful completion of a five-week online NCAS course earned her a spot to participate in the Virtual Experience. Yuritza is one of 122 community college students from across the country who participated in the nine-day virtual experience.
“I was nervous to begin the virtual NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars experience,” Yuritza said. “During these two weeks, my team had to create a “mock” space mission and give a final presentation on our project, all while attending workshops and presentations given by NASA professionals. I enjoyed attending the NASA speakers’ presentations and learning about their backgrounds and the obstacles they faced to get where they are today.”
Students learned more about NASA’s missions and careers in science and engineering throughout the virtual experience and were broken up into teams to design a mission to explore the moon or mars. Each team specifically arranged a company infrastructure, assigned responsibilities, managed a budget, and developed communications and outreach strategies. Students also attended briefings given by NASA subject matter experts, received information on how to apply for NASA internships, and virtually toured NASA’s unique facilities.
“This virtual program also allowed me to gain insight into NASA, its internship opportunities, missions, and day-to-day activities,” said Yuritza. “I received so much valuable information and, I was able to meet community college students from all around the country. I had the opportunity to create a strong team relationship with my crewmates. I saw an improvement in my confidence, communication, leadership, organization, and time management skills.”
The Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP) funds the program. MUREP commits to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce. With this activity, NASA continues the tradition of engaging the nation in its mission of human exploration and sustainable expansion across the solar system and bringing new knowledge and opportunities back to earth.
“I had a great experience with NCAS and wouldn’t think twice about recommending it to other students.”