ASHEBORO (September 5, 2017)
Randolph Community College student Alec Poupore, 19, of Randleman has been selected to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida this fall to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS). Poupore has been selected as one of 304 community college students from across the United States to be part of NCAS.
The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Kennedy Space Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA, students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.
The on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.
NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce.
With this activity, NASA continues the agency’s tradition engaging the nation in NASA’s mission.
“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA. NCAS has a legacy of alumni moving from NASA internships to and ultimately entering the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” said Joeletta Patrick, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) manager.
Poupore said he was notified of his acceptance into the online portion of the program in May. “This was a five-week online course where we studied NASA technology (what it was, how it worked, how it benefitted the world) and took several quizzes on the material provided,” said Poupore. “Near the end of the course, we had a final project due that was one of three choices. I chose option one which involved reading two reports published by NASA scientists that discussed different parts of the Mars Campaign. I had to read both reports and then answer 3 out of 5 questions about the report in detail and submit it to the NASA program’s website.” Based on his response, Poupore was notified in July that he had been selected to participate on the on-site portion of the program.
Poupore will be visiting Kennedy Space Center Oct. 23-26. NASA will provide free transportation, meals and lodging.
A second-year Associate in Science (College Transfer) student at RCC, Poupore plans to transfer to a four-year university and study molecular biology. His ultimate goal is a master’s degree in gene therapy.
Poupore is the son of Terri Henderson of Randleman and John Poupore of Asheboro. In addition to his studies, Poupore is employed at United Brass Works in Randleman.