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Student tabbed for NASA project

RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Antonella Riega, a Rio Rancho resident attending Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, has been selected to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project that includes a visit to NASA’s Johnson Space Center Sept. 26-29.

She is one of 304 community college students from across the U.S. to be part of the program.

The five-week program culminates with a four-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center where students will interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering, organizers said in a news release.

While there, 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 experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.

This project is 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, according to a news release.

“NCAS not only inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, but it also opens doors for future careers at NASA,” said Joeletta Patrick, MUREP manager, in a statement. “It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague.”

For more information on the program, email at or by phone at 281-483-0493, visit or


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