NASA Selects Community College Students To Design Rovers And Explore Technology Careers At Field Centers
Community college students in a pilot program will take the first steps toward potential technology careers as they develop robotic explorers at NASA field centers. Ninety students from community colleges in 23 states have been selected to travel to NASA's Johnson Space Flight in Houston or the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., for hands on experience with technology development and direct interaction with NASA experts. This week, the White House Summit on Community Colleges explored how these institutions can support a highly educated and skilled workforce. Concurrently, NASA is preparing for the culmination of the National Community College Aerospace Scholars pilot program.

The agency will bring young scholars to join agency professionals Oct. 20-22 to develop rovers to explore the surfaces of other worlds and learn more about actual careers in science and engineering. During the summer, students enrolled in the program completed four Web-based assignments that explored topics in engineering and technology. Those whose grades on the projects averaged at least 94 percent qualified to participate in the NASA field center experience, with the agency paying students' travel expenses. Students will apply what they have learned during the year to technology and design problems in consultation with NASA engineers.

"Community colleges are an important part of the academic landscape, and NASA is proud to be working with these students to continue their interest and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics," said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. "This innovative project gets students engaged in actual engineering design and production from concept to build-out that simulates the processes NASA uses in designing robotic explorers for solar system destinations. By letting them experience first-hand the challenges and excitement inherent in space exploration, we may be cultivating NASA's workforce of tomorrow."

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