Levi Reynolds a math/science major at Naugatuck Valley Community College in Waterbury was recently selected as one of 348 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS). Last November, Reynolds was awarded one of 10 community college scholarships the NASA CT Space Grant Consortium awards yearly.
“I’m really looking forward to meeting NASA researchers and scientists and to being on a team with other college students with similar interests,” said Reynolds who will graduate from NVCC this May with an associate degree. After graduating from NVCC, Reynolds will transfer to a four-year college where he will continue his studies in physics and astronomy with the goal of one day pursuing a doctorate in the field.
Dr. Peter Angelastro, Academic Division Director of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics explains that he became aware of the program only one day before the application was due. Reynolds was the only student able to complete the application within the tight one-day time frame. “I was so proud that he was selected as a scholar and that he was further selected to complete the on-site event. The experience will certainly help Levi realize his pursuit of completing a doctorate in physics and astronomy. I also hope this serves as an example to Levi’s fellow students that NVCC students and graduates are competitive for opportunities at the national level if they are willing to apply,” said Dr. Angelastro.
The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, and 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.
“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 and ultimately entering the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague.” Tania B. Davis, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager
For additional information, please contact National Community College Aerospace Scholars by email at JSC-NCAS@mail.nasa.gov or by phone at 281-483-0493. For more information, visit:
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