BRANCHBURG NJ - Raritan Valley Community College student Trevor Rokosky has been selected to travel to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL later this month to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS).

The Bernardsville resident is one of 160 community college students from across the U.S. selected to be part of NCAS.

The 25-year-old’s visit to the Marshall Space Flight Center, scheduled for October 20-23, is the culmination of a five-week, online scholars program. The program offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering.

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While at NASA, students form teams and establish 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. The onsite experience also includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.

Rokosky, a mathematics major at RVCC, was nominated for the program by his physics professor, Dr. Peter Stupak. According to Rokosky, the online class about space and Mars included designing Mars mission proposals, reading a technical paper on the Evolvable Mars Program, writing essays, and taking quizzes and a test. Approximately 320 students from across the country were accepted to take the online class. After the online class concluded, only the top 160 highest-performing students were invited to participate in the NASA facility onsite experience.

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project is funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to sustain a diverse workforce. 

With this project, NASA continues the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s educational programs. It is directly tied to the agency's major education goal of attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to NASA’s future missions, which include missions to Mars and beyond.