Wallace State student Amie Willoughby is participating in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars program’s visit to Langley Research Center in Virginia this week. Shown are Willoughby, center, and Wallace State math instructors, from left, Brandon Smith and Renee Quick.
HANCEVILLE – Wallace State student Amie Willoughby is interacting with and learning from NASA astronauts this week at Langley Research Center in Virginia.
Willoughby was one of three Wallace State students to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) five-week program this summer. Willoughby successfully stood out among her peers, earning her the opportunity to visit Langley Research Center.
Willoughby, a general studies major, has plans to ultimately be an aerospace engineer.
“This should be an awesome experience and gives me a chance to better understand what I’m pursuing as far as my career goals. I’ll receive information from prestigious astronauts and expand my knowledge about the profession,” Willoughby said. “Zoology was my first career choice and aerospace engineering was my second. This NASA program and experience completely shifted my focus. I’m interested in everything related to space travel.”
At Langley Research Center, Willoughby and her counterparts will attend briefings led by engineers and scientists and participate in engineering workshops. Langley Research Center is NASA’s oldest field center.
“I’m excited to get my foot in the door with NASA. I’m getting to discover new things, including learning all I can about space travel,” Willoughby said. “It’s very cool to be a part of it all.”
Willoughby, a sophomore, is originally from Prattville, but now lives in Cullman. Willoughby plans to transfer to UAH for aerospace engineering after she completes her degree at Wallace State. She commends Wallace State math instructors Renee Quick and Brandon Smith for their positive influence in the classroom.
“They’re both tremendous. They’ve helped me appreciate math, and that will be very important in my career. I’ve been to other colleges and you won’t find any professors better than them,” Willoughby said.
Wallace State’s Kaitlin Richards and Ryan Ratliff also participated in the program this past summer.
NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to sustain a diverse workforce.
For more information about Wallace State, visit www.wallacestate.edu.