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Cañada College Student Part of NASA Program to Study Mars

Cañada College student Jessica Rose has more than just a passing interest in the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) latest mission to Mars. The applied mathematics major wants to work with the space program someday and was recently accepted into a prestigious NASA online internship program.

“This is an amazing opportunity and I am so fortunate to have been chosen,” Rose said. “My dream is to one day work with the space program and it would be so exciting to work on a mission to Mars.”

Rose is one of 53 students nationally to be accepted into NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program where she will be learning about the Red Planet, past missions to Mars, and designing her own Mars mission complete with a rover.

Rose isn’t the first Cañada student to be chosen by NASA to study Mars. In 2012, Sagar Singh, Victor Vargas, and Omar Arriaga spent three days last May at the NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena making plans for the future exploration of Mars. They were among 90 community college students chosen to participate in the project. Their charge was to build the next generation of rover that would replace Curiosity, which is currently exploring Mars.

The NCAS is divided into two components. The first component is a series of online lessons that each student must complete. Those are currently underway. Following the lessons, a few students in the program will be chosen to visit either the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL., or the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. They will be chosen based on their online lesson scores, applications, geographic locations, letters of recommendation, and other information collected.

“I’m honored to have been chosen for the first phase of the internship,” Rose said. “I can’t wait to find out what we will be doing at the on-site visits, if I am lucky enough to be selected.”

Rose began attending Cañada in spring, 2012. She graduated from high school in Montclair, NJ, in 1995 and moved to California with her husband, Brandon, in 2003. They came to the Bay Area in 2011.

“When I decided to go back to school, I visited Cañada’s campus and really fell in love with it,” she said. Rose joined Phi Theta Kappa, Cañada’s honors program, and has surrounded herself with students who have high goals and are willing to work hard.

“It’s been an amazing experience at Cañada,” Rose said. “I feel like the school has really prepared me for the future.”

Hopefully, someday, that future includes a mission to Mars.

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