Students Achieve NASA and NC Space Grant Honors

January 8, 2019
Tech Talk

Students at A-B Tech have received NC Space Grant Scholarships, been accepted into the NASA L’SPACE Virtual Academy, and were invited to Wallops Flight Facility as a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars.

Three A-B Tech students were named winners of the 2018-19 Community College STEM Scholarships. William Smith, Christian Donaldson and Adam Burkins won the competitive scholarship opportunity for community college students majoring in STEM disciplines, with plans to continue their education through graduation or transfer to a four-year institution. Twelve students were selected statewide.

Previous scholars have established a track record of success over the years, eventually landing positions in multiple STEM fields and at aerospace companies like Northrop Grumman, Lockheed Martin and NAVAIR, among others. One 2014-15 scholar recently accepted a rocket science position at United Launch Alliance as a decontamination specialist.

Burkins, along with student Rose Easterday were accepted into the NASA L’SPACE Virtual Academy, which is collaboration with NASA’s Lucy Mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. “It’s the virtual academy,” said Easterday. “It’s a 12-week program preparing us for the design process. We are building an extremely tiny spacecraft with a budget of 20 bucks.”

The academy will give participants the opportunity to learn NASA mission procedures and protocols from mission professionals. Students work on team projects with science and engineering students from across the country. Those who complete the assignments and demonstrate proficiency in specific skills and tasks will earn a certificate with endorsements to show applied workplace competency.

Alexander “Coco” Van Dalen attended the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars onsite experience earlier in the year and was invited back to held host the fall NCAS because of the leadership showed at Langley. “I will be leading an NCAS team facilitating everything I did on my trip. One of my duties on this campus is to help recruit for the NCAS program. There is a big opportunity and I didn’t think I could get in when I applied. It’s free to apply and is seriously a life changing experience,” Van Dalen said.

He led the program attended by A-B Tech student Krista Runion at Wallops Flight Facility in September. “I first heard about the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar program through the Education Journal by A-B Tech,” Runion said. “I thought I might be interested so I looked into it. I was still trying to decide whether or not to apply when I heard a student who had attended the NCAS onsite experience speak about his experience at the A-B Tech Scholarship luncheon. That is when I convinced myself I should apply.”

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