STEM Student Participatesin Authentic NASA Experience
Cañada College STEM student, Fernando Lorenzo, was one of the first students in his school to be accepted into the National Community College Aerospace Scholars, also known as the NCAS program. There, he flew to Palmdale, Calif. to visit the Armstrong Research Center inside Edwards Air Force base, which is operated by NASA. Fernando was selected as a project manager for "Redolution," where he was charged with administering an 11-person team, and was ultimately awarded a "contract" for winning a four-day long competition at the end of the trip.
The NCAS program allows community college students to have an authentic NASA experience, all while encouraging them to finish a Bachelors degree at a four-year university as an engineering-related major. The program is very competitive on a national scale with thousands of applicants vying for a few hundred spots; but once students are accepted, they become enriched in an interactive online learning opportunity, which is then highlighted by a three-night trip to NASA.
On site, students were given the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers in their field area of interest such as Math, Science, Engineering or Computer Science. 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. “The experience was quite fierce, and many people, including myself, barely had any sleep for this,” stated Fernando. “The invigorating atmosphere and openness of everyone coming from many unique backgrounds felt like the perfect place to be free. The program has been built to change students' lives like mine to create and share amazing opportunities the world has yet to see.”
After Cañada, Fernando plans to transfer to a four-year university in the Fall of 2017 to obtain a Bachelor’s degree in Bioengineering and ultimately a MBA/JD law degree. He hopes for more people to consider and pursue an Engineering degree so that they can inspire others to create a more innovative world.