Congratulations are in order for Collin College sophomore students Jennifer Hembd of McKinney and Jeffrey Germaneri of The Colony, for their selection by NASA to become National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS).
Germaneri and Hembd are among 48 students from 25 states chosen this year to become a NCAS, providing them the opportunity to develop a prototype vehicle to roam Mars and experience three days – from Nov. 8-10 – at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
During this time, Germaneri and Hembd, and other students, according to NASA, will establish a team and form a fictitious company pursuing a Mars exploration. The team will create a company infrastructure to design and develop the rover.
“This is a dream come true,” Hembd, an E-Business Development major, explained. “I have always been interested in the space program. I have wanted to go to space camp since I was 12. I am looking forward to the entire experience. Everything we do while we are there will be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Such an opportunity, according to Germaneri, will help him explore different careers that NASA and its affiliates offer.
“I feel confident I will be able to use this opportunity to market myself well in any career and or college choice I make for my future,” Germaneri, who is pursuing a general associate of arts degree, said. “I am looking forward to talking with the experts in the different fields about space related topics. I find this information very interesting. It is a true honor to have the opportunity to speak with the scientists and engineers at NASA.”
Aside from designing a rover, students at the the three-day NASA experience will get to tour NASA facilities and attend briefings from agency scientist and engineers.
“Obviously, being a part of something like this looks fantastic to potential employers but I believe it has greatly increased my research skills,” Hembd said. “While this particular project does not directly relate to my field of study, I feel that it has helped me to become a stronger, more disciplined student. I have also made many contacts with other participants throughout the country that are in all fields of work.”
Germaneri and Hembd were selected a NCAS based on completion of web-based assignment during the school year that centered on science, technology, engineering and mathematics content.
According to Germaneri, students had to receive a high score on an extensive summer long assignment that consisted of a mock mars mission from start to finish, including designing a mission proposal, budget, timeline and rover that would be used on a NASA space mission.
“Collin College is one of the best colleges in the area. To have two students participating in this program proves the excellence of this institution,” Germaneri said. “I give Collin College much credit for my accomplishments. Without the many professors and college personnel who took the time to help me expand my knowledge, I would not be where I am today.”