Socorro High School student Victoria Navarro had the opportunity this summer to work with NASA scientists,meet with an astronaut and enhance team building skills while working on a mission to Mars.
Navarro, a senior at Socorro High School, participated in the Women in STEM High School Aerospace Scholars project, or WISH, from June 24-29 at the NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. Navarro was the only participant from Texas among the 84 female students from across the nation to take part in the program.
“I was really honored to be the only person from Texas,” Navarro said. “I felt really honored to represent the area.”
Navarro collaborated with the other project participants and female NASA mentors to develop mission plans for launching to Mars, living and working there, and integrating the many components necessary for a successful planetary mission.
“I learned so much about physics and teamwork building,” she said. “And, we learned about presentation skills,public speaking and communication.”
Navarro said she also had the opportunity to meet and learn from astronaut Shannon Walker, who described her personal experiences working at NASA. Navarro said hearing from Walker and working with the engineers at NASA was exciting.
The WISH project students were given a fictitious budget to build several small mockups of vehicles to demonstrate a successful launch and landing of a Mars spacecraft. Navarro said they learned from NASA experts who specialize in various fields such as robotics, rovers and life support systems. They worked in collaborative teams doing hands-on activities and presenting their projects to NASA personnel and community leaders.
Navarro said NASA is an incredible place to learn and the project increased her interest in space and space exploration. She plans on looking for a career in science or math.
“If any girls are interested in applying for this, it is completely worth it. All the hard work pays off,” she said.
Navarro said before she went to Houston the program included interactive online lessons with math problems and quizzes and covered past, current and future space exploration. She was graded by certified teachers and she had to submit a final project based on a leading female STEM professional who is developing cutting-edge technology or performing new research. She was chosen to attend the summer workshop at the Space Center based on the results of her online work.
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