January 23, 2018

Mesa College Sends Students to NASA

By Office of Communications

Students using telescope to watch solar eclipse

Shawn Cvetezar and Naylynn Tañón of San Diego Mesa College have been selected as NASA Community Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) and will be participating in an onsite experience this February. NCAS is a highly competitive program that gives community college students the opportunity to meet and work with NASA engineers and scientists.


The first portion of the program – a five week online course – has already been completed by both Cvetezar and Tañón. During the online course, students work through module sets that include quizzes and webinars from NASA experts and other industry professionals in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics). For the final project of the online course, the students could choose from one of three categories: a research paper, design your own mission, or design your own rover. Cvetezar spent over 60 hours on the CAD designs alone for his rover project, and Tañón developed her own proposal for a mission.


The second portion of the program includes an onsite experience. Cvetezar will be visiting NASA Ames Visitor Center in Mountain View, CA and Tañón will be visiting the Johnson Space Center in Houston, TX. For their onsite experience, students will team up to create fictional “companies” interested in Mars exploration. The companies will create a project and be graded on the quality of their prototype rover, the company’s infrastructure, proposed budget, and their communication and outreach efforts.


Cvetezar is planning to receive his Engineering Associate’s Degree in Fall 2018, with plans to transfer to a four year university afterwards. Tañón is majoring in geophysics and astrophysics with a goal to copmlete a Ph.D. in planetary science. Both Cvetezar and Tañón are enjoying the challenges so far, and both hope this experience will further their goals of eventually working for NASA.


For more information on the NCAS program, please visit NCAS here. For more information about the STEM majors and programs offered at Mesa College, please visit Mesa’s STEM webpage.

Tags: NASA, Engineering, Physics, Mesa College Students, Johnson Space Center, NCAS Scholars, NASA Ames Visitor Center, Astronomy, STEM