NASA Program Selects BCTC Student

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 26, 2011) While most students spend the end of the semester pulling all-nighters or cramming for tests, one Bluegrass Community and Technical College student will be at NASA designing a rover that could be used for Mars exploration.

Patrick Gallivan of Lexington has been selected to the NASA National Community College Aerospace Scholars program. He is among 80 community college students nationwide who will travel to a NASA center where they will establish teams and form fictitious companies pursuing Mars exploration. Each team will shape a company infrastructure to develop and design a prototype rover.

I feel excited and nervous to be going to NASA for a rover building competition, Gallivan said. When I was a kid, I loved Transformers and wanted to be involved in building them. This is close enough.

Gallivan will visit NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. from April 27 to 29. The on-site experience includes a tour of NASA facilities and briefings from agency scientists, engineers and astronauts.

The program aims to encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

Students were selected to the program based on their application and lesson scores of Web-based assignments, which included designing of a Martian rover and a research mission to Mars. This year, students had to have a 93 average on their assignments to be selected.

Gallivan will graduate May 14 with an associate of applied science degree in computer aided drafting and design. He is also a member of BCTC's student honor society, Phi Theta Kappa.

I can't wait to use the knowledge I've gained here at BCTC to hopefully benefit one of America's greatest institutions, Gallivan said. I feel that the connections and experience I will gain from the NASA engineers and the other students will be invaluable in the career I'm pursuing after I graduate.