Scottsdale Community College student chosen as NASA scholar

Heidi Rodriguez (Submitted photo)

Heidi Rodriguez (Submitted photo)

Scottsdale Community College student Heidi Rodriguez has been selected to travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project.

She is one of 160 community college students chosen from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS.

The five-week program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center Oct. 25-28. It offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering, according to a press release.

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 on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.

“This whole thing has been a learning experience,” stated Ms. Rodriguez, in the release. “This part of the program will be hands-on, which I’m looking forward to.”

Ms. Rodriguez, 19, graduated from Coronado High School and would like to transfer to Arizona State University to pursue an engineering degree, stated the release.

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 under-served students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics to sustain a diverse workforce.

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.

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