Collin College student Richard Alexander, of Plano, is one of 40 students who will participate in the National Community College Aerospace Scholars project.

From Oct. 23-25, Collin College student Richard Alexander, of Plano, will join 40 community and junior college students from across the nation at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., as part of the National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) project.

“I am most looking forward to seeing in person the best aerospace engineering this country has to offer and to have some of the smartest people in this country explain to me how it works, how it was made and why we need it,” an excited Alexander said. “I want to photograph and video record the entire experience so that other people understand what the Marshall Space Flight Center and NCAS programs do. I want to share the great experience of visiting one of our top-notch space exploration facilities.”

Aside from learning about careers in science and engineering, Alexander’s three-day adventure at the space center will include forming a team and establishing a fictional company interested in Mars exploration. According to NCAS, each company will be responsible for developing a prototype rover, designing a line drawing of the rover and forming the company infrastructure including the budget, communications and presentations.

Students selected to participate in the NCAS project are encouraged to study mathematics, science, engineering and computer science by interacting with engineers at different NASA centers.

“This is a highly competitive program. Visitors are selected based on their application essay, the recommendation of a professor and a student’s score on submitted course material, among other considerations,” Alexander said. “My hope is that my participation in the program as a representative of Collin College will be meaningful to those who are not able to attend.”

Furthermore, “I hope to make a career of exploring, witnessing and documenting the world around us,” Alexander continued. “I love science and engineering because they provide tools useful for exploring and learning.”

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