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CNM student attends NASA program

This promo photo illustrates Antonella Riega’s selection to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project. (Courtesy of Nasa)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Antonella Riega, a Rio Rancho resident attending Central New Mexico Community College in Albuquerque, recently finished the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program that included a visit to NASA’s Johnson Space Center last month.

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

The five-week program culminated at the end of September with a four-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center, where students interacted with NASA engineers and others to learn more about careers in science and engineering, organizers said in a news release.

Students formed teams and established fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team was responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.

The experience at NASA included a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.

The annual program 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, call 281-483-0493, or visit or

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