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WCC student may go to NASA

By Staff Reports
Published in News on July 25, 2012 2:09 PM

An 18-year-old Wayne Community College automotive student with a passion for astronomy just may get a chance to participate in a project at a NASA facility.

Isabelle Flock, of Farmville, has been accepted as a National Community College Aerospace Scholar. She is one of 180 community college students nationwide vying for the chance to learn more about what NASA does and how they may become part of future space exploration.

She is currently completing 20 hours of competitive web-based coursework and interacting online with fellow participants and NASA engineers. In August, based on the grades on those lessons, re-evaluation of their initial application and essay, and an abstract on the project's "mission" -- the exploration of Mars with a rover -- the field will be narrowed down to 70.

The next phase will be a three-day experience at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The group will tour the facilities, attend engineer, scientist and astronaut briefings, and participate in a team project led by NASA engineers in October.

Miss Flock said she feels better equipped for the competition because of the classes she has already completed at WCC toward her GM-ASEP, automotive systems technology, degree, including three electrical courses and Automotive Service Excellence certification in engine repair. She also has experience working at a Chevrolet dealership in Greenville.

"You have to be prepared for anything because you don't know where it is going to land -- dessert, mountains, river beds, craters, other terrain," Miss Flock said. "With my automotive background, I can do anything. I could go to NASA and work with the rover or go to GM [General Motors]."

The National Community College Aerospace Scholar program is funded by NASA's Exploration Systems Mission Directorate and the Minority University Research Education Program. It is designed to encourage community and junior college students to enter careers in science and engineering and ultimately join the nation's highly technical workforce.