Reynolds Honors student Johana Aguero has big dreams for her future, and her selection into the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program brought her one step closer to realizing those dreams.
The program gives STEM-focused (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) community college students interested in NASA related careers an opportunity to participate in a five-week online learning experience. The top scoring scholars are subsequently invited to attend a four day workshop at a NASA Center.
“I always knew I wanted to work for NASA; contribute to the STEM society and leave my mark in history. However, it wasn’t until later in 2015 that I truly found my niche – engineering. Then it just made sense to me to choose aerospace engineering.”
Aguero was one of about 400 students who participated in the five-week online course June 27 through August 3. Based on her scores, she was one of just 40 students invited to participate in the four day workshop at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida in late October.
At the Kennedy Space Center the students worked on projects mentored by NASA engineers, attended briefings by engineers and scientists, toured NASA facilities, and participated in a Mars rover competition. The group was divided into four teams of 10. Each team had to design, build, and test a Mars rover, operating within budget constraints. At the end of the competition the teams were judged and scored after presenting their results. Aguero’s team finished in second place, barely missing out on top honors.
The students also had the opportunity to meet engineers who worked on the shuttle program and space shuttle Columbia as well as the director of the Kennedy Space Center and four-time astronaut Rob Cabana.
Aguero said, “This whole experience was invaluable exposure. I can now visualize exactly what I’m working towards. My dream is to work for NASA at the Kennedy Space Center.”
A current Reynolds Honors student, Aguero expects to graduate in May 2018 and plans to transfer to the University of Virginia to study aerospace engineering.