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Heartland student receives NASA scholarship

May 30, 2018

A Heartland student has been selected to travel to NASA’s Stennis Space Center this summer to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) onsite experience.

Computer Science student Melody Dashora has been named as one of 280 community college students from across the U.S. to travel to the Hancock County, MS rocket testing and research facility.

The NCAS program begins with a five-week online activity that culminates with a four-day on-site event at a NASA Center. On-site, students have 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.

This scholarship is a natural fit for Melody’s academic and career goals. After completing her studies at Heartland, Melody is looking to transfer into a program to study Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars are 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. 

“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,” Joeletta Patrick, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager.

For additional information on National Community College Aerospace Scholars visit:

Written by: Steve Fast