From Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College:
Two A-B Tech Students Selected to Visit NASA
A-B Tech students Tom Mone and Wes Davis have been selected to travel to NASA’s Stennis Space Center this spring to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS).
They were two of 216 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS. They are also the sixth and seventh students A-B Tech has had selected for this prestigious honor.
Davis is interested in transferring to a four-year college to complete his degree in mechanical engineering. “I have been working in construction for eight years since I left high school and want a change. I was building a lot when I was little,” he said. “I don’t want to just earn a paycheck; I want to make a difference.”
Mone has wanted to do something with NASA since he was 7 but changed gears when he started to struggle with math. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Communications and working in the film industry, including a three-year stint on a cruise ship, he found himself in Western North Carolina, interested in earning an engineering degree. “Overtime, life pulls you in so many directions that sometimes you just have to revert back to your childhood dream; the one you had before everyone and everything was telling you ‘No’ all the time… I make it a habit of finding the ‘Yes’ in a world full of ‘No’”.
Mone was one of the first students to receive an i3 Stem Scholarship from A-B Tech, funded by the National Science Foundation. Dr. Jon Wiener, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at A-B Tech, is the principal investigator of the NSF grant and was the one who told Mone about the NASA opportunity.
The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Stennis Space Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. 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.
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 underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) 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.
“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA. NCAS has a legacy of alumni moving from NASA internships to and ultimately entering the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague.” Tania B. Davis, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager.
About A-B Tech
One of 58 colleges in the North Carolina Community College System, A-B Tech offers associate degrees, diplomas and certificates in more than 60 curriculum programs through its five academic divisions: Allied Health and Public Service Education, Arts and Sciences, Business and Hospitality Education, Emergency Services and Engineering and Applied Technology. The Division of Economic and Workforce Development/Continuing Education offers opportunities for workforce partnerships, specific job training and retraining, as well as personal enrichment classes. A-B Tech enrolls more than 25,000 curriculum and continuing education students in programs at its Asheville, Enka, Madison, South, Woodfin and Goodwill locations.