- OCCC Pioneer - http://pioneer.occc.edu -

Student soars sky high with NASA

Many little boys dream of growing up to become an astronaut, but few get the opportunity recently afforded to OCCC student worker Rodolfo “Ivan” Monsivais.

Monsivais, a second year engineering student, was one of 80 students in the U.S. selected to spend a weekend at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, as a result of his participation in an online aerospace project.

“It was an experience I never thought I would have,” he said. “I am studying pre-mechanical/electrical engineering because I want to be an astronaut.

“I learned about this study from another student,” Monsivais said. I applied and was accepted to the program.”

The program, National Community College Aerospace Scholars, requires a six-month commitment from applicants to work together with NASA engineers via interactive web-based activities.

Among the undertakings are planning a space mission, beginning with the challenge of funding.

NASA supports the program for students interested in all aspects of space exploration.

Monsavias took the lead in Houston and volunteered for his team’s top position.

“Of 280 people who applied, only 80 were chosen, so we were divided into four groups of 20 each,” he said. “No one spoke up when the adviser asked for a project manager.

“That is the engineer’s job, I thought — my job — and I said I wanted to do it.”

Monsavais said he is undecided as to whether he will continue his studies at the University of Oklahoma or join the military and continue there.

“There are benefits to both,” he said. “In the meantime, I will consider applying for a summer internship at NASA.”

If he is accepted, Student Life will miss their student worker.

“He is an amazing young man, and we are proud of his accomplishments,” said Marcy Roll, Student Life Assistant.

For more information on the program, check out the website at education.nasa.gov [1], or e-mail jsc-ncas@mail.nasa.gov.