Taking a shot with NASA opens doors for student

May 3, 2016

 Courtesy EPCC Marketing

Freda Jessie Adams will work with the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project competing as part of a small team to design and develop a new Mars rover. 
 

 

Being one out of 216 community college students from across the nation, EPCC student Freda J. Adams has received such an opportunity to work with NASA in part with the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS).  

 

The project will take place this spring, which is when Adams will be sent to Langley Research Center in Virginia, where she will compete as part of a small team to design and develop a new Mars rover. 


The teams will also be charged with developing an entire business plan (i.e. logo, budget, contract bid) for the new company hoping to develop the new Mars rover. 


The five week scholarship program will conclude with a five day on-site event that will take place at different NASA space centers across the nation. 


Adams initially found out about the NCAS program online through EPCC.


“I saw a post on EPCC’s twitter page for the program, and thought ‘why not?’” answered Freda.  “Engineering will be a big part of this project, but you can’t have engineering without chemistry.”


Adams, who is currently a Chemistry major, will be going to play during the five day on-site event at Langley. 


“One of the coolest people I’ve gotten to talk to was Dr. Ashwin Vasavada on a webinar, he helped design the rover that’s up there on Mars now, Curiosity,” said Adams. Adams has started the five week pre requisite course in October of 2015. 


The webinar took place in January 2016 and can be found at www.youtube.com/watch?v=cYYxPOp0rhg&feature=youtube.be  and includes question and answer session. 


“He explained that the rover has compartments that are used to analyze different materials,” this is where Adams feels her Chemistry prowess will come into play.

 

Adams said, “the teams will be working long days during the on-site event working from about 6:30am to 8pm except for the last day which ends at 1pm.”


Adams says she feels both “excited” and “stressed” by the on-site event due to the heavy work load with a very short timeline to complete it. 


“The thing I want people to know is just because something is available and out there doesn’t mean, it’s just going to fall in your lap.

 

You have to go get it, and do the work,” explained Adams. “My professors that have really helped to encourage and push me were Dr. Jaime Vigo and Allison Bruce.” 


NASA hopes to utilize the NCAS project to continue the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s educational programs.

 

This project is directly tied to retaining and attracting students in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) disciplines that are critical to the success of NASA’s future missions, such as missions to Mars and beyond.

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