NFCC Student Reinaldo Perez selected as NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar

MADISON, FL – North Florida Community College is proud to announce that NFCC student Reinaldo Perez has been named as a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar.

The NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar program gives community college STEM students an authentic NASA experience and encourages them to finish a two-year degree or transfer to a four-year university to pursue a NASA related field or career.

The application process is highly competitive, with only 300 students from community colleges nationwide being accepted. Of those students only 120 are invited to move on to the next phase, a behind-the-scenes tour of a NASA site as well as a three-day hands on engineering experience.

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars are expected to participate in five weeks of intensive web-based interactive sessions that consist of webinars with NASA engineers and scientists, online interaction with participants across the country and an extensive final project that challenges each participant to plan a simulated mission to Mars.

This is all done in addition to regular coursework and in Reinaldo Perez’s case, working a fulltime job.

“It takes a lot to balance working fulltime, taking classes here at NFCC and completing the program,” says Perez. “You need to have attention to detail, be organized, be focused and of course have the knowledge and passion to be successful in the program; kind of just like you would if you actually worked at NASA.”

The opportunity to become a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar was a giant step in the right direction for Reinaldo.

“When I was nine years old, I told my father I wanted to be an astronaut,” says Perez. “I’ve always been passionate about two things, nature and engineering.”

Reinaldo’s passion for nature led him to begin his journey in higher education at NFCC back in 2006 and later moved him on to the University of Florida where he earned his bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Conservation.

After earning his degree, Reinaldo dived straight into the workforce using his passion for nature to motivate himself to advance professionally.

Now Reinaldo has returned to NFCC in preparation of earning a second degree in his other passion, engineering.

It was that same dedication to a passion for engineering that led NFCC Physics Instructor Dr. Guenter Maresch to approach Reinaldo with the opportunity to become a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar. It was under Dr. Maresch’s guidance he was able to complete the application for the NCCAS program under a very tight deadline and be accepted as a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar.

NFCC congratulates Reinaldo Perez for his outstanding achievement and is proud that he will represent NFCC as a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar!