Northeast State student accepted into NASA program
Published 11:52 am Tuesday, January 24, 2023
For Northeast State Community College student Isaac Carr, the limit stretches far beyond the sky.
The first-generation college student from Bluff City was chosen to participate in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program, and those who pass the two-staged mission boost their chances of paid internship opportunities at NASA.
NCAS will first take Carr on a five-week journey tackling mission objectives and exploring different career pathways with other STEM students in the U.S.
Students who pass the first stage progress to what NASA dubbed Mission 2: Explore, which immerses participants in simulation experiences and paves the way toward the end goal — a four-day trip to an NCAS partner institution or a NASA field center.
“If you pass both missions, that gives you special opportunities within NASA,” Carr said. “You’d have an edge compared to other candidates and could land paid internship opportunities in your specific career field. NCAS instructors have said that they’ve had a lot of past interns who end up working for NASA or their contractors like Lockheed Martin.”
He has spent a week in the program and already has a perfect score on an assignment under his belt.
Carr, a cyber defense student, earned his associate degree in general science from Northeast State in 2020 but decided to return to the College last fall to take his interest in online security to the next level.
When Instructor David Blair posted field-related opportunities for students to pursue, Carr saw the NASA program and thought to himself, “why not?”
“The worst thing they could have said is no,” Carr said. “I was not really expecting a yes, but I was just casually checking my email when I came home one day and saw an email from NASA in my inbox, and I was like, ‘Would they email me to decline me or something?’
“I clicked on the link, and they offered me the position. It gave two options — accept or decline. I pushed accept pretty quickly.”
The full-time Northeast State student juggles 15 credit hours and a part-time job that nears 30 hours a week. He sees the added coursework from the NASA program as a step closer to a postgraduation vision.
“After I graduate, I hopefully will pass both missions and get a paid internship at NASA,” Carr said. “They also offer remote positions, so I could do that without having to move anywhere. If not, the internship alone on my resume will get me job offers that others might not get.”
Carr said that he hopes his acceptance into the NASA program inspires other Northeast State students to pursue what they otherwise may deem impossible to accomplish.
“The possibilities for any student at Northeast State are whatever they want to achieve; you just have to put yourself out there,” Carr said. “If you just set your mind to it, and you’re passionate and believe, you can do about anything.”