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Four Students Earn STEM Awards from CT Space Grant Consortium

2014 Graduate Jason Willet Heads South for Aircraft Readiness Engineering Workshop

Four Naugatuck Valley Community College students have been funded by the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium to further their education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. The Connecticut Space Grant Consortium is a NASA funded organization made up of 16 Space Grant affiliated universities and community colleges in the state of Connecticut. NVCC is one of the first Connecticut Community Colleges to join.

In general, the grant funds undergraduate, graduate, and faculty STEM-related projects, research, travel, internships and workshops by offering scholarships, fellowships and grants.

NVCC Class of 2014 graduate Jason Willet of Waterbury applied for and accepted a full scholarship, including travel funds, to attend the 2014 Aircraft Readiness Engineering Workshop (AREW) June 22-27, 2014. The Consortium also awarded three $500 Community College Scholarships to Shantia Burke of Waterbury, Shughla Ghafoor of New Milford, and Amanda Saglimbeni of Torrington.

For Willet, who graduated in 2014 with a mechanical engineering technology degree, the workshop will provide an opportunity to work directly with engineers at the Navy’s Fleet Readiness Center East Facility and with the latest Navy/ Marine Corps Aircraft such as the V-22 Osprey and the H-53 Heavy Lift Helo to learn practical and applicable knowledge of fixed and rotary winged aircrafts.

From 2010-2013, the workshop was held at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain. This year, it will be held at Craven Community College in Havelock, NC.

A store manager at Tools Plus, Willet hopes this experience will help him advance in the workforce while he considers his next educational step.

Burke graduated from NVCC in May with an associate degree in Math/Science - Chemistry. Next year, she will continue her studies at Quinnipiac University in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Ghafoor is a nursing major set to graduate in 2017. Saglimbeni is a math/science major set to graduate in 2015.

Both the Helicopter Workshop/Aircraft Readiness Engineering Workshop and scholarship awards will be available again in 2014-15 for NVCC students. The full spectrum of opportunities available to NVCC students and faculty from their membership in the CT Space Grant Consortium can be found at

“We are excited to welcome NVCC into full academic membership in our consortium,” said Tom Filburn, Ph.D., director of the CT Space Grant Consortium. “We anticipate that the scholarships that we have just awarded to four NVCC students represent the start of a long and fruitful collaboration for both our organizations.”

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