Blast Off for Space Studies in Community College!

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Blast Off for Space Studies in Community College!
Learn about the space studies programs offered through community colleges that can prepare you for an engaging career with NASA or private space companies.
For students who are looking up to the skies pondering potential career pathways, there are an array of space study programs at community colleges across the country!

Students who choose to pursue studies in space can find jobs with NASA or companies who focus on satellites and technologies that tie into this expansive field.  In fact, even cellular and other satellite based companies are seeking out new employees to assist with the planning and development of space-based products and services. 

To train students for these and many other related careers, community colleges offer space-related courses of study, including pathways that incorporate engineering, physics, and math.  Also, to improve current programs, many community colleges are collaborating with NASA to create curriculum and courses to prepare students for futures in space studies.  Today, community colleges are establishing both new and revised programs to address the interests of science and exploratory students. 

Maui Community College (MCC), located in Hawaii, is one of the many popular community colleges collaborating with NASA to provide innovating training and education. 
At MCC, leaders have created a Space Grant Program funded by a grant from NASA to promote the study of space exploration, including areas of study such as astronomy, engineering, computer science, physics, and additional related courses.  Previous space grant projects at MCC have allowed students to engage in astronomical observations using powerful instruments and telescopes.  Adding to this, students have also engaged in evaluations of satellite design, robotics, and computer programming concentrations that correlate with astronomical observations. 
Similar to Maui, Houston Community College (HCC), located in Texas, also provides students with an extensive space and astronomy program.  According to HCC, astronomy involves the exploration of the universe, the Earth, and other distant galaxies.  With this focus, “The mission of the astronomy courses at Houston Community College is to provide quality education and to assist a diverse student body to prepare for careers in various fields involving astronomy, space exploration, and related sciences.” 
By participating in space and astronomy studies at HCC, students will engage in courses that evaluate the Solar System, the study of the Sun, the history of Earth, and additional topics. Amidst these studies, students will even be able to more thoroughly understand the evolution of Earth in the universe, helping students, as HCC asserts, to better understand their place in the world.     
Additional Space Studies and Opportunities
In addition to specific programs and courses of study at various community colleges, students can also take advantage of space-related opportunities.  Specifically, the Washington Space Grant is a scholarship prospect offered solely to community college students in the state of Washington.  This program, supported by NASA, is awarded to promising community college students who are planning on transferring and continuing their education at the University of Washington.  To be eligible for the scholarship, students who transfer to the University must continue their intended course of study in a related space area, such as science, technology, engineering, or mathematics.  These scholarships range from $1,000 to $5,500, and they are awarded to students for their personal essays, academic performance, and other criteria.  
Adding to the many space-based opportunities, community colleges also provide public programs for young kids who are interested in learning more about space and scientific studies.  Specifically, many community colleges provide local kids and families with access to planetarium shows and lectures.  For example, Bellevue Community College, located in Bellevue, Washington, provides the community with an array of planetarium lesson and events.  With 40-minute shows that display a live explanation of the sky’s stars, in addition to information and overviews of constellations and planets, students and kids above the age of 5 can be immersed in the darkness to gaze at the beautiful stars projected on the “dome sky.” 
With unique opportunities across the country at many local community colleges, students can blast off into an exciting career in space studies!

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