11:53 AM

WCTC student participates in NASA aerospace scholars program


PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Wednesday, August 1, 2018) – Waukesha County Technical College student Dan Jones traveled for four days earlier this summer to NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace (NCAS) onsite experience. Jones was chosen as one of 280 community college students from across the United States to be a part of this unique opportunity.

Jones, who is enrolled in WCTC’s Mechanical Design Technology (MDT) program, is the third WCTC student to be named an aerospace scholar; two other School of Applied Technologies students traveled to Stennis Space Center in spring 2018.

To be selected for the onsite experience, students must successfully complete an intensive, five-week NCAS online component that consists of 20 hours of web-based work, interaction with other participants, webinars with NASA scientists and engineers, and completion of a unique NASA project.

While at the space center, Jones worked on a group project mentored by NASA engineers, attended briefings led by engineers and scientists, and toured NASA facilities. Participating scholars worked on teams to establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration, and each team was responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach.

“Being able to meet past and present astronauts and learning some of their life lessons is something I will never forget,” Jones said. “Also, experiencing the testing of some of NASA’s most powerful rocket engines up close was incredible.”

The technical experience Jones gained in WCTC’s MDT classes helped him with the NASA projects.

“I have been able to apply much of the knowledge learned through WCTC classes. Physics and Technical Math were both helpful in understanding the inner workings of the Mars rover we had to build,” he said. “Also, parametric design played a significant role in being able to design different parts of the rover.”

A main goal of NCAS is to help students make connections between a STEM degree and career opportunities, while also motivating students to participate in other competitive NASA programs. NCAS is funded by NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) and encourages community college students to finish their two-year degree and pursue a four-year degree or career in a STEM field.

About WCTC

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 170 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit