CNM Students to Attend Four-Day NASA Workshops

August 30, 2016 -- Four CNM students are among the 328 scholars from around the country who will be attending a four-day NASA-sponsored workshop in September and October. The training is a program of NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS).
CNM Students to Attend Four-Day NASA Workshops

Aug 31, 2016

The CNM students are Isabel Strawn, Boblyn Drummond, Maren Hatch and Christopher Cowgill. Strawn will be going to the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The others will have their workshops at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

“This is a great opportunity for me,” Drummond said. “The workshop will consist of lectures from NASA personnel and facility tours.”

To be selected for the workshop, the four students had to take an online class that covered topics including past and future Mars explorations, research conducted on the International Space Station (ISS), astronomy, climate change, global warming and aeronautics. A structured, self-paced and completely online course, it consisted of two quizzes per three modules and a final complicated research project.

The on-site workshop at the NASA facility includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts. It culminates with the students forming teams and establishing fictional companies in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget and developing communications outreach.

Alicia Baturoni Cortez, NCAS activity manager, said that about 1,500 community college students start the application process. The students ultimately chosen for the workshops were selected from those who completed the online course.

“We were looking for students who are interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math),” she said. “They must have at least nine (credit) hours of STEM coursework before they can even apply.”

Students have to pay an initial $30 registration fee. Travel and hotel stay is all compliments of NASA.

Cortez noted that the workshops are valuable because, by meeting various NASA scientists, the students discover how they can “take a STEM degree and turn it into a career.”

She added that some NCAS alumni become NASA interns and eventually work there as full-fledged scientists and engineers.

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. The NCAS program started in 2001 with only Texas students. It opened up to students in other states in 2009.

CNM students interested in applying for the spring semester of NCAS will find the application available at from Sept 6-Nov 16.