Lake-Sumter State College student Abigail Glover has been selected to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center this November to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) project.

Glover is one of only 304 community college students from across the country to be chosen.

“I am so excited,” Glover says. “This summer I participated in the NASA scholars program, which involved a five week online course and a research project. Only a handful of students from this program are chosen for the on-site portion.”

Glover is pursuing her AA degree from LSSC and intends to transfer to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University to study mechanical and electrical engineering. She lives in Eustis and is a graduate of Tavares High School.

Glover’s research project focused on NASA’s Mars Campaign Study, which is looking to expand human presence into the solar system and to the surface of Mars to advance exploration, science, innovation, benefits to humanity, and international collaboration.

The NCAS program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Kennedy 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.

“When students participate in this type of deep hands-on learning, they gain knowledge both in the subject area and in valuable skills that are transferrable on their future career path,” says Dr. Claire Brady, vice president of enrollment and student affairs at LSSC.

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 engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.

“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,” says Joeletta Patrick, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager at NASA.