Pasadena City College students Angela Kim and Melissa Perez have reached for the stars and have been chosen by NASA to participate in their National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.
Perez, a computer science major, and Kim, a mechanical engineering major, had several hurdles to clear before becoming two of the lucky few who were chosen by NASA. An extensive application, a shining recommendation from a professor, and an impressive GPA were all the necessary requirements to even be considered. According to Perez, more than 400 students submitted applications for this honor, but only a handful were chosen to work side-by-side with leading NASA experts.
“We learned of our acceptance to the program by e-mail,” said Perez. “I was very lucky and excited.”
The program will require Kim and Perez to go through an extensive five-week online session where they will need to learn about the evolution of Mars missions, plan a simulated Mars mission and design a 3D rover model, participate in fellow student discussions, and submit four modules and a final project.
Furthermore, they will join other college students at a camp located at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena to network, learn, and work alongside NASA engineers and scientists on a rover. Although the workload is sure to be substantial, Kim and Perez are still excited for what the project will mean to them in the future.
“I always wanted to work with NASA, and the great thing about this opportunity is that we fix up our resume when we get there and we get hands-on experience,” said Perez. “With the networking we can do, those doors of opportunity are opened to get internships and jobs.”
“Being selected means a lot to me,” added Perez, according to PCC Pulse. “Working with any aspect of NASA is my lifelong goal. It’s my dream to expand space exploration, whether with flights, robots, or sending people.”
For Kim, her work with NASA will further help her work towards her passions.
“I was interested in aerospace, but I’m primarily interested in working in the defense industry,” said Kim. “The aerospace and the military industries are interconnected so it’s not too big of a jump to work in one and then move into the other.”
Kim will take part of the program from Dec. 3 to 5 and Perez will take her part on Feb. 23 to 25. The NCAS are still accepting Spring 2015 applications for interested students until Dec. 15. The applications and requirement details are available on their website.