Three Austin Community College District (ACC) students are working with NASA this summer as part of the select NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) Virtual Experience

The program offers community college science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students an authentic NASA experience and encourages them to finish an associate degree and then enter the workforce or transfer to a four-year university to pursue a NASA-related field. 

ACC students Connor J. (pictured above), Richard C., and Amber T. were selected among hundreds of applicants nationwide. 

During the week-long NCAS event, the students will form teams and design a mission to explore the Moon or Mars. Each student participates in a design team, fulfills a team role, manages a budget, and develops communication and outreach strategies. Students also attend events hosted by NASA subject matter experts, receive information on how to apply for NASA internships, and virtually tour NASA’s unique facilities during the event.

“NCAS inspires community college students to advance in STEM fields, and it also opens doors for future careers at NASA. NCAS alumni can often move on to NASA internships and possibly ultimately enter the NASA workforce. It is rewarding to see the progression of a student from NCAS participant to NASA colleague,” says Torry Johnson, Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) Manager. 

The Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, funds NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars. MUREP commits to engaging underrepresented and underserved students in STEM with authentic learning experiences to sustain a diverse workforce. 

The NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Virtual Experience runs from Wednesday, August 3, through Tuesday, August 9. Team design winners will be announced on Thursday, August 18.

For more information on NCAS, visit, and to learn more about MUREP, visit

To learn more about ACC’s Computer Science and IT degrees and programs, visit