ACC students may apply now for NASA space exploration program

Austin Community College students interested in a unique opportunity to interact with NASA scientists and engineers may apply now for NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS). The program is open to part-time and full-time students in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. Applications for spring are accepted through December 15.IMG_20151028_125845732

Apply now!

“NASA does much more than just astronomy.  A variety of STEM fields are represented at NASA, so this program will allow students to explore a wide range of disciplines,” says Dr. James E. Heath, ACC Physics Department chair. “It’s a great experience, and a lot of fun.”

ACC student Ronny Betts was among 160 community college students nationwide accepted into the program this fall.

“Space exploration has always been my passion. Growing up I wanted to build robots and design spacecraft,” says Betts. “Getting a chance to learn directly from NASA engineers and work firsthand with their equipment was incredible.”

The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center where they form teams, develop fictional companies interested in Mars exploration, and design and build a prototype rover.

IMG_20151026_165832360“I got my bachelor’s in aerospace engineering, but when I went for job interviews I realized I didn’t have the skills I needed. I needed to go back to school,” says Betts. “ACC has one of the best Computer Aided Design (CAD) programs in the country, so I enrolled for a chance to start over.”

Betts will graduate in December with her associate degree in CAD with a Mechanical Specialization.

“For me, this experience with the NASA scholars program has been a huge confidence booster,” says Betts. “It’s exciting that NASA is still moving forward with missions like going to Mars and that I’ve been a part of the process.”

For more information visit All applicants must be students at ACC. To register for spring classes visit

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