Orange Coast College has been selected to participate in a five-week course “NASA On Campus Experience” hosted by the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS). The national program gives community college students a chance to learn about NASA research and missions in a free five-week online course. The deadline to apply is April 6.
Students who successfully complete the NASA On Campus online course will be invited to a four-day, on-campus engineering design and robotics competition at OCC. The competition will offer a hands-on, collaborative engineering experience and connect students with NASA experts.
“Students will form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration,” explains OCC STEM Center director Dr. Erik Bender. “Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach. The event includes briefings by NASA subject matter experts, information on how to apply for NASA internships, and tours of labs at universities such as UCI and USC. One lucky student from this experience will receive a NASA internship.”
OCC has previously partnered with NASA through a program in collaboration with the California Space Grant Consortium (CaSGC). Through that program students at Coast have designed and built a Mars rovers, and presented their projects to NASA engineers for feedback. “We’ve had great success with this program, and because of this we were invited to participate in NCAS,” says Bender.
NCAS is exclusively open to students attending two-year colleges, has no minimum GPA requirement and all majors are welcome.
“Students who attend community colleges like OCC don’t necessarily have many of the opportunities afforded to students that attend a regular four-year university,” says Bender. “NCAS On Campus opens doors for community college students who want to explore options and careers with NASA and other STEM-related professions. It provides our students with a valuable enrichment opportunity that will have a lasting impact on their education.”
NCAS is funded by the Minority University Research and Education Program (MUREP). MUREP is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) with authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce. To learn more visit https://go.nasa.gov/ncas-campus
Dr. Bender and Astronomy Professor Dr. Jerome Fang will host an information session for students who are interested in applying on March 25 at 2 p.m. Students can register for that info session here.