EDUCATION SPOTLIGHT: Three Donna North juniors accepted to participate in NASA program

November 14, 2017 GMT

Donna North High School students Miguel Lopez, Briana Martinez and Miguel Martinez were accepted into NASA’s prestigious High School Aerospace Scholars Program.

Every year, NASA encourages Texas high school juniors pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to apply to its summer program for an opportunity to learn about STEM possibilities.

“I’m so happy that I put in the effort of writing the essays,” Lopez said. “It’s mind blowing to say the least because not everyone can get in.”

“I found out I got accepted when I checked my emails during lunch,” Briana said. “I was so excited. Miguel Martinez happened to be sitting next to me.”

“When Briana told me she got in, I started to worry about myself almost to the point of crying,” Martinez said. “I opened my iCloud account and that’s when I cried. I was so happy, I started jumping up and down and then both Briana and I ran to our teacher to tell her.”

Donna ISD Science Director Emily Anderson is proud of the students.

“We have awesome students in Donna ISD, but the (Rio Grande Valley) has limited options for internships and STEM-enrichment activities at the high school level. This program will allow students to experience scientific inquiry hands-on with working scientists and will open doors in terms of college and future career opportunities,” Anderson said.

For the next four months, the students will be required to participate in online interactive lessons on NASA activities related to space exploration, earth science, technology and aeronautics. They must also design challenges such as building 3D CAD modules, creating videos and designing interactive posters. They will also participate in virtual chats with NASA engineers and scientists.

The students with the highest scores will be invited to participate in an all-expense paid, week-long summer visit to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Scientists and engineers will work with the students to complete design challenges and plan a mission to Mars.

Lopez, Briana and Martinez are up for the challenge and hopeful their interest in STEM-related careers will get them into the summer program.

The students will find out if they are selected for the summer program next spring.