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PCCC Sets a NASA Record

Largest NCAS Cohort from a Single Community College in One Semester

Posted January 23, 2018


NCAS Scholars – Fall 2017 Cohort at work in the STEM Makerspace.

A record 34 PCCC students were accepted last Fall into the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Program (NCAS), a nationwide competitive program that offers community college students a unique, extended opportunity to work with and learn from NASA experts.

 “Currently, this is the greatest number of students (accepted into NCAS) from any single community college in a single semester,” said Alicia Baturoni Cortes, the NCAS program manager at NASA.

PCCC’s STEM Director, Professor Dennis Reer added that based on total PCCC applicants to NCAS, “This year’s number of PCCC students accepted into NCAS represents a 79% increase over last year’s.”

PCCC participated in NCAS for the first time last year when 19 PCCC students were chosen out of hundreds of applicants across the country for the first phase of NCAS, a five-week online workshop with NASA engineers. From that initial group, 14 PCCC students were selected for the second NCAS phase, a four-day, all-expenses-paid technical conference on site at a NASA location. Read more

“It was a fantastic experience,” said Tim Schutte, a Computer Information Sciences major who attended the conference at the Johnson Space Center in Houston last May. His performance there impressed the NCAS team so much, that Tim was invited back in October, to work a two-week stint as a paid student assistant. Read more.

As with last year’s group, most of PCCC’s current NASA scholars are majoring in a STEM-related field (science, technology, math, or engineering), but that is not required to apply for the program. In fact, one of this year’s female scholars, Angelina Gonzalo, is an English major.

“No matter what your major is, being a NASA scholar is an enriching educational experience, as well as a great boost to your resume,” said Professor Reer.

Commenting on the significant number of PCCC students who cut through the competition to be accepted for two consecutive years, Ms. Baturoni Cortes said, “When we see large groups like at PCCC, we know there is something even more significant going on beyond just suggesting that students should apply. “

She continued, “In addition to creating a culture of high expectations and a genuine belief in the students’ capabilities and potential, we see faculty building a community of support around students on the journey from applicant to selectee. They draw on those additional resources to provide continuity, support and celebrate student achievement. PCCC does this exceptionally well.”

The current NCAS cohort successfully completed the workshop phase in December and are awaiting final decisions about the selection for the onsite conference in February.  Watch here for details.

Read more about STEM@PCCC


Congratulations to our NCAS Scholars Phase I – Fall 2017
Ihad Abufaraj
Moudud Ahmed
Abdelaziz Aitelkadi
Kelvin Azcalt
George Baladi
Francis Caceres
Jeffrey Calixto
Jasmine Castillo-Rosales
Rashell Dilones
Diana Dominguez
Josue Galvez
Nygel Gavilan
Angelina Gonzalo
Sarah Hannouch
Adolfo Jorge
Abubaker Latif
Basher Mahmoud
Hanna Mansour
Eric Mendoza
Brenda Noriega
Leonardo Pastor
Dina Pruitt
Farah Qaquish
Wendy Ramirez
Julio Ramos
Michelle Ramos
Dhruv Rana
Ritesh Rana
Maria Rivero-Perez
Roberto Sanchez
Kimberly Steed
Brian Trevino
Sebastian Toledo
Yemela Ventura