Representing New York State at NASA

These three students are representing OCC and all of New York State in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program. They are (left to right) Wayne Ennis, Rebecca Agosto Matos and Nathan Burroughs.

Chemistry and Physical Science Professor Dr. Fred Jaquin is proud of what Onondaga Community College students have accomplished. Again. OCC’s best and brightest have become regular participants in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program. This year three OCC students have been selected. “They are the only three community college students in all of New York State to be chosen. It’s an amazing accomplishment for all of us to be so proud of,” said Jaquin. Not only do they represent all of New York State, they are also three of only 403 students chosen nationwide.

The three students are Nathan Burroughs, an Engineering Science major from Homer High School (2016) ; Wayne Ennis, an Engineering Science major from Corcoran High School (2007) and Rebecca Agosto Matos, a Mathematics & Science major from East Syracuse Minoa High School (2017). “I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Agosto Matos. “I had done robotics with NASA previously and learned a lot from it.”

Each student will take part in a five-week online activity which will culminate with a four-day on-site visit to NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Students will have the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and employees as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA students will form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team will be responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget and developing communications and outreach. “Being able to go to NASA and work with NASA professionals is very exciting,” said Ennis. “I’m really looking forward to it.”

Burroughs has been dreaming about space since he was a young child when the Tom Hanks movie “Apollo 13” was popular. “I grew up watching it. It’s the one VHS movie I remember watching tons and tons of time. I got a telescope when I was little with a night sky atlas. I liked going outside and looking up.”

NASA will host another Community College Aerospace Scholars program in the fall. Students interested in participating can contact Professor Jaquin for more information at “Students who do this will have such an advantage going forward,” said Jaquin. “They will have an ‘in’ with NASA if they want to apply for an internship or a fellowship. NASA will know who you are.”

Congratulations to Nathan Burroughs, Wayne Ennis and Rebecca Agosto Matos, our latest class of NASA Scholars!

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