UTICA – Seven current and former students from Hinds Community College were selected to attend the NASA on Site event Oct. 8-11 as part of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars, or NCAS, experience.

The students are Reneisha Sweet, of Edwards, Quadejia Crockett, of Gloster, Adrianna Chambers, of Jackson, Hezekiah Williams, of Edwards, Tramari Poole of Jackson, Joshua Johnson, of Jayess and Eli Hodge, of Edwards. Sweet, Williams and Hodge graduated from Hinds in spring 2019 and are currently at Jackson State University. Crockett, Chambers and Poole are sophomores at Hinds’ Utica Campus, Johnson is a sophomore at Hinds’ Rankin Campus. Later on this summer, an eighth Hinds student will participate in the program.

From left to right: Reneisha Sweet, of Edwards, Quadejia Crockett, of Gloster, Adrianna Chambers, of Jackson, Hezekiah Williams, of Edwards, Tramari Poole of Jackson, Joshua Johnson, of Jayess and Eli Hodge, of Edwards. Sweet, Williams and Hodge graduated from Hinds in spring 2019 and are currently at Jackson State University. Crockett, Chambers and Poole are sophomores at Hinds Utica Campus, Johnson is a sophomore at Hinds Rankin Campus.

The students were among 496 community college students from across the United States to be part of NCAS, which involves a five-week online activity that culminates with an onsite event at select NASA centers nationwide. It offers students the opportunity to learn more about careers in science and engineering.

While at Kennedy Space Center, students formed teams and established 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.

Johnson said the moment he met his team, he knew this trip would become an experience he would not soon forget.

“I loved every moment of working with them as well as getting to know them and their capabilities. I only worked with them for five days but I felt like I’ve known them for years,” Johnson said. “I believe learning to work with others with different skill sets to achieve a common goal is an experience I can take with me throughout my future career.”

The event also included briefings by NASA subject matter experts, tips on how to apply for NASA internships, a tour of Kennedy Space Center and presentations from several Shuttle astronauts including center director Robert Cabana. One lucky student from this experience will receive a NASA internship to be awarded summer 2020.

Chambers said this trip provided her with great memories and another career option.

“My favorite moment at Kennedy Space Center experience was getting a special tour of the center,” Chambers said. “I was able to see launch sites, cryo labs, the veggie center, and more. This tour helped me understand the importance of networking and performing research on every opportunity given. I am a biology pre-med student, so initially thinking of NASA, it wasn’t the first career option. Now, I believe there is a career for every major at NASA, as long as you do your research.”

Hodge earned an associate’s degree from Hinds’ Utica Campus last spring. Hodge encourages any student, no matter their interest, to give NCAS a try.

“It can expand your resume and possibly open doors to a future career,” Hodge said. These students are not the only ones that will get a chance to experience NCAS.

The Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, funds NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars. MUREP is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.

As Mississippi’s largest community college, Hinds Community College is a comprehensive institution offering quality, affordable educational opportunities with academic programs of study leading to seamless university transfer and career and technical programs teaching job-ready skills. With six locations in central Mississippi, Hinds enrolls about 12,000 students each fall semester. To learn more, visit www.hindscc.edu or call 1.800.HindsCC.

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