Spotlight on the Class of 2020: Daniel Mirman – NASA Set His Course for an Aerospace Career
Daniel Mirman once chased goals across the ice in pursuit of a hockey scholarship. Now a graduate in the Class of 2020, Dan is still chasing goals, but they have evolved far beyond the ice rink.
“I want to establish a platform that will elevate and innovate human life on a global scale,” says Dan who is contemplating a plan for the first private satellite servicing and space waste-management company.
Dan receives his Associate in Science Degree in Engineering Science with highest honors and plans to transfer into a bachelor’s degree program at Boston University to study mechanical and aerospace engineering.
Graduating with a 3.92 GPA, Dan is a member of the Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society and is one of two PCCC students named to the 2020 All State New Jersey Academic Team, a PTK honor.
He is also the recipient of over $70,000 in total scholarship awards, including nearly $54,000 annually from Boston University. Dan is the first PCCC student to receive the PTK Hites Transfer Scholarship Award and he was also named a 2020 Coca-Cola Silver Scholar.
A NASA enthusiast, Dan participated in the NASA Avionics @ PCCC program and was among the nine PCCC students selected for a highly competitive, paid internship at NASA. The interns spent 10 weeks in the summer of 2019 at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland where they worked and learned from NASA experts.
“During my internship I met so many people who inspired me and helped me develop into the engineer I am today,” said Dan. “Interning at NASA helped me validate my decision to pursue a career in the aerospace industry.”
As a result of his performance at NASA, Dan was invited to return to Goddard this summer for another 10-week, paid internship, called “Guidance, Navigation, & Control Sensor/Actuator Development.” Working on a virtual platform, Dan uses a 3-D program to develop guidance, navigation, and control models that will help engineers and scientists conduct tests on spacecraft components to determine readiness for launching.
“My assignments are multidisciplinary and encompass engineering methods and theories from fields of mechanical, electrical, and aerospace engineering,” explained Dan.
Last Fall, Dan applied his skills at PCCC by using the flight simulator in the STEM Makerspace to teach students how to fly small aircraft.
Though driven to succeed now, Dan was not a high achiever in high school. “I just never had the desire to excel in school until I got to college,” he said.
After graduating high school in 2017, Dan took a gap year to play junior ice hockey in hopes of landing a scholarship to play at an NCAA Division I or Division III university. During that year, he also enrolled in two classes per semester at PCCC to satisfy general requirements.
“After my first gap year, I decided not to take a second year off,” said Dan. “ I just enrolled full time at PCCC to save money and establish a good college GPA, so I could get into a good university.”
Dan also emphasized that taking advantage of what PCCC had to offer, such as the STEM Department, PTK, and student clubs, was the key to his success.
“Becoming an active student on campus was the best thing I could have done to enhance my experience at PCCC and I encourage all students to do the same.”
Written by Linda Telesco