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MVCC student selected for NASA program

By Cindy McNicholl

UTICA – Steven Riggall, a Physics Education major at Mohawk Valley Community College, has been selected to travel to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to develop a prototype vehicle to roam Mars as part of the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.

Alongside his peers, Riggall will establish a team and form a fictitious company pursuing Mars exploration. The team will create a company infrastructure to design and develop a rover. The experience includes a tour of NASA facilities and briefings from agency scientists and engineers. Riggall is among 48 students from 25 states who will visit the Space Flight Center Nov. 8-10.

Riggall, a West Eaton native, is in his sophomore year at MVCC. He is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year colleges, and was named to the President’s List for the Fall ’10 semester and the Vice President’s List for the Spring ’11 semester.
 
“I am extremely happy to be given this opportunity, because I know how competitive the program is,” Riggall says. “I’m looking forward to meeting people who have shared interests in science, as well as developing connections across the United States. I am just as excited about the entire experience, and thanks to Phi Theta Kappa I am able to participate in programs such as this.”
 
Riggall and other participants were selected based on completion of Web-based assignments during the school year centered on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content.
           
“Community colleges are a tremendous source of talented problem-solvers and will help feed skilled scientists and engineers into the nation’s workforce,” said Susan White, director of education at Johnson Space Center in Houston, where the program is coordinated. “This program helps inspire students to pursue STEM careers in the future.”
 
NCAS is based on the Texas Aerospace Scholars program, originally created in partnership with NASA and the educational community in Texas. The program is designed to encourage community and junior college students to enter careers in science and engineering and ultimately join the nation’s highly technical workforce. 

For more information about NASA’s education programs, visit www.nasa.gov/education.

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