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Even though the recently completed NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program had a different look this fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Essex County College participants still had a fulfilling experience that will only help them going forward.
NASA officials modified the virtual challenge to student teams designing a mission to the Moon or Mars. ECC, with 22 participants, had the largest contingent out of the hundreds of students taking part nation-wide. The College was also was the only community college from NASA’s six pilot institutions to continue the program during the pandemic.
“It was such a great experience. We learned to be part of a group and do the best to achieve the goals that we set up for the day. We listened to each other and discussed every decision to move forward and asked for help when we had questions,” said Salma Alami Yadri. She graduated from ECC in the spring with a degree in Engineering. She is now at NJIT majoring in Electrical Engineering.
“Our students had a very unique experience working with peers around the country and having access to NASA professionals,” said Dr. Nidhal Marashi, ECC Chemistry Professor, and the PI and Program Coordinator. Dr. Marashi and ECC Physics Professor Nadia Lvov mentored students during the summer portion of the program.
“I’m extremely pleased with all our participants,” Dr. Marashi said.