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RCBC student chosen as NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar

Rowan College at Burlington County student Eric Shaw was selected to be a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar (NCAS) for the Fall of 2016.

NCAS 2016 was held at the Langley Research Center, in Virginia. The program is an educational experience for students interested in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers. Students apply and participate in a month long online workshop, if they score high enough in the class they can attend the four-day on-site experience. Community College STEM students get an authentic NASA experience through this program.

Shaw, of Cherry Hill, who is majoring in both Physics and Mathematics, was not only selected to participate in the online workshop, but was chosen to participate in the on-site experience.

“It was an amazing opportunity that truly furthered my desire to go into the STEM field,” Shaw said. “To be able to meet other students with the same desires and work with them as a team for four days was an experience that couldn't have been better.”

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Division at RCBC has become a premier destination students interested in a STEM career thanks to a new 3+1 path to a biology degree from Rowan University, a National Science Foundation grant that is creating an Advanced Manufacturing Center in partnership with Rowan University and the Burlington Institute of Technology, and the innovative Undergraduate Research Initiative that has led to national recognition for students such as Shaw.

“It is wonderful to see our STEM students being selected for prominent national programs outside of the classroom,” said RCBC President Paul Drayton. “Rowan College at Burlington County’s STEM Division strives to include new technologies into academic programs and stay up to date with the newest technological advancements to prepare our students for the best jobs in the 21st century.”

In the spring of 2016, Shaw participated in the college’s Undergraduate Research Initiative and along with his team presented The Europa Project. The goal of this project was to develop a type of robot that would be sent on a mission to Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons. This robot would go to Europa on a lander and move around separately to collect data, images and samples of the moon. NASA is planning the Europa Multiple Flyby Mission that is set to launch in the 2020s. The students built the prototype robot and submitted the idea to NASA.

“I would match the quality of our RCBC engineering students against any school, anywhere. The innovation shown by Eric demonstrates the exceptional quality of these students, and many of our UGR students have gone onto other institutions and corporations in team leadership roles,” said RCBC Physics Instructor Greg Perugini. “The Europa project was a great success, and there are many safety, reconnaissance and military applications for this type of robot. The experience with using this technology will take these students far in the workplace.”

To learn more about the STEM programs or UGR program at RCBC visit rcbc.edu/stem. Applications for NCAS 2017 open March 1, for more information visit https://nas.okstate.edu/ncas/.