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WHAT THE  NCAS STUDENTS AT PCCC HAD TO SAY ABOUT THEIR OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD
EXPERIENCE WITH NASA

 

Posted April 4, 2017

 

 

All 19 of this year’s NCAS students from PCCC’s STEM department attended a five-week online workshop where they interacted with NASA experts, collaborated with one another, and also completed an independent study project,** related to the Mars mission. Fourteen students will go on to attend 4-day technical conference at a NASA location, a fantastic learning and networking opportunity that could lead to a paid summer internship with the space agency.

 
Read what our scholars had to say about studying with NASA, being selected for the on-site conference, and how they feel about STEM at PCCC. (Pictured above are some of PCCC’s 19 NCAS participants. For a list of their names click here).

 
**NCAS Independent Project Options Following the 5-Week Workshop

Option 1 – “The Evolvable Mars Campaign” research paper
Option 2 - Plan a Robotic Rover Mars Mission
Option 3 -  Create a Mars Rover Design

Ala Ajaj

Major: Math
Educational/Career Goals:
To become a high school Math teacher

On Being Selected for the  NCAS 2017 Conference

When I first found out I was invited to attend the NASA onsite portion I was so happy. It was something I never imagined happening. To be given the opportunity to complete the program just feels so surreal.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

I have had an amazing experience with the NCAS program so far. The instructors have been extremely kind and supportive throughout the whole program. I couldn’t have had asked for better instructors to represent and lead the NCAS program.

STEMtimonial

I would definitely recommend the STEM program to high school students. This program has given me opportunities I could never have imagined achieving. The staff is incredibly welcoming, helpful, caring and supportive. The resources that are provided to me have allowed me to excel academically and that is something I am extremely thankful for.

Reflection

The NCAS program means a lot to me, as I never thought I would have the opportunity to even associate with NASA. I am a first generation college student. To be invited to a NASA research space center and work with a NASA scientist is such an honor and I am extremely thankful for this opportunity.
From the beginning to the end of this program, I have grown to be part, just a little, of the teacher education track I am hoping to pursue. I have gained more knowledge about careers I can achieve with my math degree. During the onsite portion of the NASA program, I know I will gain more exposure to careers relating to my major, and we will see what happens from there.

Ase Awari

Major: Engineering
Educational/Career Goals:
To continue studies in Engineering.

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

I was happy to be selected.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

It was a good experience.

STEMtimonial

I recommend STEM at PCCC to high school students.

Nour Awari

Major: Engineering Science
Educational/Career Goals
To double major in aerospace engineering and physics

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

In all honesty, I did not expect to be selected for the NASA experience and when I heard that I was I was very happy, excited, and proud of myself.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

My experience has been very fun. It’s been an exciting experience. I learned a lot; I worked with others; and I also worked on myself. My final project in the NCAS workshop was the Mars rover design. 

STEMtimonial

STEM is a very exciting and enjoyable field. I would recommend the STEM field because you learn something new every day, and you find something interesting in everything after STEM.

Reflection

This NCAS opportunity means a lot to me. In a way this opportunity saved my future.  Last semester,
I was very confused about my future plans, but this opportunity helped me to set my path towards a great future. It helped me work hard and be determined. This opportunity made me realize that I want to switch from mechanical engineering to aerospace and also double major in Physics

Stephany Cabrera

Major: Environmental Sustainability
Educational/Career Goals
I feel I now have the opportunity to savor and sample the career that I really want.

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

My reaction to being selected for a NASA experience was unreal. I was in complete disbelief when I was selected for the onsite, because my regard for NASA was so high, I didn’t think I would be so privileged to be part of such a journey.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

During the NCAS I have never worked so hard to get such an opportunity. I stayed on schedule. 
I studied for hours on holiday, and I learned how to use and manipulate a software program just to get into this program for NASA. My final project after the NASA workshop was to design a Mars rover.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM at PCCC to high school students, because this program breaks boundaries in community college at a university level and prepares students not only for responsibilities one will face in a 4-year institution, but in everyday life problems

Reflection

NCAS is the opportunity I didn’t think I would ever see. This means I have the opportunity to savor and sample the career that I really want. This not just what can determine my education, but my path in life. Ever since I’ve been accepted to NCAS I have been on top of my work much more intensively. I feel like I have an obligation to myself to achieve the best for myself

Michelle Diaz

Major: Biology
Educational/Career Goals
To work for NASA

On Being Selected for the NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

My initial reaction to being selected for a NASA experience was pure excitement, followed by some hesitation. I was excited to even be selected and a bit hesitant because it is intimidating to know that I will be surrounded by other brilliant minds.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

This NASA experience has been very informative and exciting. Learning how to design my own rover for option 3 was very difficult but mostly fun. At first, after a couple of days of researching for option 3,
I decided to change to option 1 only to be bored and change back to option 3. This project was not an easy one, but it was worth it.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM to anyone who would listen. It has gotten me a small internship with NASA, and I would not have gotten it without the help of the staff at PCCC. Being able to add my internship to my resume will open doors for me, especially with my biology major.

Reflection

This NCAS opportunity is my meal ticket. I always dreamed of working for NASA, and now that I have this Scholars opportunity, I feel that they will not overlook my application when the time comes. This opportunity has changed my perception of extracurricular activities. I didn’t think much of college clubs before the NCAS program.
Now that I have reaped the benefits, I plan on being more active with STEM. As far as my plans go, working with NASA seemed like only a dream but now I am focused on making it a reality. I have the support from my family to continue pushing on and it feels even more rewarding to know that I have the support from PCCC.

Fredrick Eriksson

Major: Engineering Science
Educational/Career Goals
Aerospace Engineer

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

I was happy and proud to have been accepted into the NASA experience. It’s a great opportunity to network and gain experience.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

The NCAS program has been one of challenge and hard work. I have enjoyed every step learning about the past and future plans of NASA and have truly found an interest in what NASA plans to accomplish.
My final project was the firstt option available where one had to answer questions about NASA’s future trip to Mars. I compared and contrasted different methods of transportation, and I also explained how the Martian environment may contribute to the mission

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM as it is a great way to network. Making friends and acquaintances as well as finding new opportunities really help in building a resume as well as gaining experiences to prepare for the real world.

Reflection

The NCAS opportunity has been a great experience thus far in helping me understand the goals NASA plans to accomplish. Being in the course as well as being accepted into the NASA onsite experience has been an eye opener in seeing what is required for different types of engineers, and the experience has also taught me how to be a team player in discussing open ended problems with my peers.
The final project pushed me to discover and analyze new methods NASA could implement in future space missions, and I have earned new skills as in thinking as well as communicating during my time in the course. My future plans are still the same in wanting to become an aerospace engineer, but this experience has been a step in the right direction.

Muhammed Izeiroski

Major: Computer Information Science
Educational/Career Goals:
My  goal is to go to NJIT and get my master’s degree in computer science and go to work at a video game company as a programmer and work my way up to become a director of my own studio.

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

I was excited and grateful to be chosen for the NASA experience.


On The NCAS Workshop Experience

My experience so far in the NCAS program has been amazing. I feel I have learned a lot about NASA that
I didn’t know before.  My final project after Phase I was to plan out a mission to Mars. Everything from pre-launch to the landing on Mars with the rover and its purpose. Also I had to have an objective for the mission and it was to go to Hellas Planitia and dig down and search for fossils for future life on Mars and to study climate change.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM to high school students because you get opportunities that you cannot get anywhere else and the people you meet are very intelligent and friendly. You build strong bonds with these people as you continue to work with them.


Reflection

This NCAS opportunity means a lot to me, because it helps me learn more about NASA, and I get this great opportunity to work with them and meet new people.
I haven’t really changed since being accepted to participate in the NCAS program, but  I feel that I took this program more seriously than anything I have ever done before, because this is NASA we’re talking about!

Henry Mendoza

Major: Computer Science
Educational/Career Goals:
To pursue computer science studies at NJIT, possibly for a career in cybersecurity

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

I was surprised that I actually got selected and got the opportunity to go for the onsite NCAS experience. I was totally excited when I got my email telling me that I got accepted and the first thing I did is tell my parents about it. They were happy for me and were glad to see my hard work pay off. I can’t wait for the day when I’m actually on the NASA research base

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

The experience in the NCAS program is not an easy path to take. It requires a lot of work and much of your own time to do the quizzes and projects in this program. But overall my experience here has been rewarding and informative. I loved learning new things about space and astronomy, so this program was actually fun to do.
My project after the phase I of this program was option 1. I chose 3 questions NASA provided and answered them using a case study document and my own research.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM at PCCC to high school students, especially CIS students,  because there are so many opportunities that you can’t possibly turn away from. STEM has given me the opportunity of applying for this NASA internship that I would otherwise never have known about. STEM here gives back to the students who work hard and seize the opportunity given to them.

Reflection

When I first applied to NCAS, I never thought I would be selected. I thought there would be a fierce competition to get in, and the program would be filled with genius applicants. So when I got accepted to the onsite program, I learned that I was one of the lucky few to get in. I can already see that this program will open up new interests and opportunities that I didn’t know existed. This program has helped me improve my time management, especially since I have work and school to worry about.This forces me to do all my work with time to spare. My future plans haven’t changed, at least not yet,  and I hope this experience will open new doors for me.

Minerva Paulet

Major: Engineering
Educational/Career Goals:
To continue engineering studies toward a PhD degree with the possible goal of teaching

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

This NASA opportunity means so much and has been an experience to remember. It has been a pleasure to attend the 4 week online course for NASA. I got so much out of it and learned so much information that I would haven't gotten anywhere else.  I chose to do Project 3, designing the rover.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM at PCCC to high school students, because you will get so much help from the STEM team. They are very active and love lending a hand to students.

Reflection

My future plans haven't changed drastically, but this experience made me rethink my major. I know what it is that I what to do, but there are so many things that I'm interested in. My major is engineering, but choosing from several disciplines is very difficult since they're all interesting. 

Pascual Rosario

 
Major: Computer Science
Educational/Career Goals:
To land a job as a software engineer at Google or Facebook.

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

My reaction to being selected for a NASA experience was a rush of excitement, followed by a few shouts of, “Yes! Yes! Yes!” Afterwards, I alerted the other participants in NCSA from Passaic County Community College, to inform them of the experience.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

The experience in NCAS program is a team-building one. We setup up a group chat using the Groupme mobile application to send each other feedback on the modules, and the exams we completed. Along the way, there were online virtual chats from a NASA research center to keep us informed about our assignments.
My final project after phase 1 of the program was to write a 6-7 page paper on the following three topics: What are some ways in which Mars local resources can be used, and the importance of using them;  Describe what a capability driven approach means and how some of the latest technologies are being used; Compare and contrast two different transportation architectures, SEP Chem and Hybrid. The three topics are all related to the Mars mission. After the final project, I was much more informed about the technologies NASA is using for the missions to Mars and about how far the technology has come in the modern world.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend STEM at Passaic County Community College to high school students because there is a solid support structure here at Passaic County Community College. There are clubs for different STEM majors, such as the robotics club and the engineering club. Each club has a mix of different majors where people from each major can contribute to a project.


Reflection

NCAS allows me to look further ahead in the future and consider other possibilities in terms of my career. This has encouraged me to take on additional challenges and apply the same approach I applied in the NCAS to get accepted. My plans for the future are the same in terms of software engineering, however they’re a bit higher now.

Karream Sheard

Major: Mechanical Engineering
Educational/Career Goals:
My goals after PCCC are to obtain a BSME, stay in the STEM field, and go where the opportunity presents itself.

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

I yelled like I just won the Super Bowl, fist pumped in the air, and teared up a little.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

My NCAS experience has been excellent and hard work. My final project was the rover design.

STEMtimonial

I would definitely recommend STEM to high school students, because you can get a “leg up” on the rest of the world. STEM fields push the world forward and create your own demand.

Reflection

This NCAS opportunity means the world to me. I’m 41, I never expected to be able to go to NASA and have this opportunity. This is mind blowing. I’ve had a little more pep in my step and feel more confident.  Thanks to STEM department for your support and putting these opportunities in front of me. You guys are great!!!!!!

Brandon Trastoy

Major: Computer Information Science
Educational/Career Goals:
My career goal is to be CEO of a software company. Don’t know how, or when, but it will happen.

On Being Selected for the  NASA NCAS 2017 Conference

Being selected for the NASA experience is incredible achievement. I’m overjoyed that I was accepted and will not stop at anything to take full advantage of this opportunity.

On The NCAS Workshop Experience

My experience in the NCAS program so far has been very good. Except for when the actual project was due, the journey to completing the online course was very calm and well-paced.
My final project was option 3, the rover design. I received 39 out of 40 on my project. My rover was designed to travel Mars and look for material to take back home. It was fitted with a track-system, a large drill for excavation, and many other parts that had to do with navigation and receiving information.

STEMtimonial

I would recommend the STEM program to high school students for the sole purpose of opportunities like this. Being able to go to NASA is an opportunity I probably wouldn’t have found on my own.

Reflection

The NCAS opportunity to me means a light at the end of the tunnel. This is an opportunity that most aren’t privileged to even know about, and I was.  My acceptance into the program has given me a little more confidence in my own abilities.
It makes me happy to know I was accepted and that I was one of the few students in the country as well. The opportunity was amazing.