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2 honors students selected for NASA program

Matthew Hopper and Brandon Carpenter will take part in a NASA workshop at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Seminole State College of Florida honors students Matthew Hopper and Brandon Carpenter have been selected to travel to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., to develop a prototype vehicle to roam Mars. The two will participate in the three-day experience through the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program Nov. 8-10.

Brandon Carpenter, left, and Matthew Hopper were among only 48 students nationwide selected for the NASA program.

Hopper and Carpenter were among just 48 students from 25 states selected for the program based on completion of Web-based assignments that centered on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) content.

"Community colleges are a tremendous source of talented problem solvers and will help feed skilled scientists and engineers into the nation’s workforce," says Susan White, director of education at Johnson Space Center in Houston, where the program is coordinated. "This program helps inspire students to pursue STEM careers in the future."

Hopper, 20, plans to become a biomedical engineer, while Carpenter, 19, wants a career in aerospace engineering. Both are students in Seminole State’s Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute.

Alongside their peers, Hopper and Carpenter will establish a team and form a fictitious company pursuing Mars exploration. The team will create a company infrastructure to design and develop a rover. The experience includes a tour of NASA facilities and briefings from agency scientists and engineers.

Hopper says the team approach will benefit him in the future.

“A lot of engineering is developing projects with a group of people,” says Hopper, of Winter Springs. “You have more productivity and better ideas when there are more people.”

For Carpenter, the opportunity to take part in the NASA program is a welcome surprise.

“I’d like to work for NASA, so I figured I’d apply,” says Carpenter, of Winter Park. “But I didn’t think I’d actually get in. I’m really glad I actually made it.”

The Art & Phyllis Grindle Honors Institute offers programs for students who want to enrich their academic experience at Seminole State College. For more information, please visit the Honors Institute website.

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