Baton Rouge Community College student, Allen Roach, has been selected to attend the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) Onsite Experience at Kennedy Space Center, October 7-11, 2019.
Roach is one of the selected participants out of 499 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS. He successfully completed a five-week online course including a research project, which led to a visit to a NASA center.
“We are very proud to have one of our students accepted to this rigorous and highly-selective program,” said BRCC Interim Chancellor Dr. Willie E. Smith. “Baton Rouge Community College’s Division of STEM has an amazing pre-engineering program that creates opportunity for our students to get real-world, hands-on experience and knowledge in the field as they prepare for a multitude of transfer opportunities. We are grateful that the NCAS program places an emphasis on community college students deserving of such an exciting experience.”
His required online research project, The Seismic Wave Assessment and Relay Module: Unleashing the SWARM onto Mars, focuses on the use of a team of a dozen similar rovers for seismic imaging to identify and locate water deep below the surface, as well as locating lava tubes and tunnels hidden within Mars. It concludes that the key to getting boots on the ground in Mars actually lies beneath the ground.
“The program has been so much fun and so inspirational throughout the entire thing,” Roach said. “I've learned so much from it and so much about myself during it. The workload is pretty rigorous but it was all very satisfying and interesting. It really helped me realize that my interests lie in aerospace. I'm looking forward to going to the onsite event next week and potentially turning this into an internship and possibly even a job in the future.”
The five-week online activity culminates with a four-day onsite event at a NASA center which offers students the opportunity to 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 event includes briefings by NASA subject matter experts, information on how to apply for NASA internships, and a tour of NASA’s unique facilities.
“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA. NCAS alumni often move on to NASA internships and ultimately enter the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” said Torry Johnson, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager.
The Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP funds NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars. MUREP is committed 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 agency’s tradition of engaging the nation in NASA’s mission and leading an innovative and sustainable program of exploration to enable human expansion across the solar system and to bring back to Earth new knowledge and opportunities.