NASA FSGC Ambassadors
2016 NASA FSGC Ambassadors
The Ambassadors’ primary mission is to inform students at their home universities about opportunities available to them at NASA and the NASA FSGC. Their primary responsibilities involve communicating with space-related student organizations and participating in public outreach events. Ambassadors must have strong interpersonal skills as well as excitement for space exploration and STEM research. Here are the 2016 NASA FSGC Ambassadors!
If someone had asked me a few years ago what I planned to do with my life, I would have explained that I planned to finish earning my marketing degree at the University of Florida, work for an outdoor adventure company for a few years, then get a “real” job. Little did I know that during my senior year, I would experience a certain moment of clarity. In this moment, I realized that I could find meaning in my life by contributing what I could to mankind’s exploration of the cosmos. After graduating and taking a year of math and science classes at the University of Florida, I enrolled as a mechanical engineering student at the University of Central Florida.
I believe that in order to pursue scientific progress, we cannot simply chase our own passions—we have to promote those of our peers as well. As the Florida Space Grant Consortium Ambassador for the University of Miami, I would help undergraduate students to find early avenues for their STEM careers. Already, I have experience in both scientific and educational opportunities. Having gone through the OSSI system several times for both internships at Goddard Space and Flight Center and their aeronautics undergraduate scholarships, I would be able to advise students about how best to approach those types of applications. However, even more importantly than promoting such opportunities, I can also teach students how to independently turn their passions into reality.
I will never forget my fourth grade teacher’s eyes when I told her I wanted to be a “Physicist.” Apparently, when you ask most kids what they want to be when they grow up, you usually get “Ballerina!” or “Fireman!” but not me. No, I was different, and her mouth couldn’t have said it any better than her hopeless eyes did. It was at that moment that I realized how differently her and I saw the world. You see to me, this world was an exciting place full of wonder and opportunity. My imagination ran wild, as I was surrounded by places to explore, oddities to find, and an infinite bound of possibilities waiting to be created. To me, there was no dream too big, no job too absurd. Science quickly became everything to me. Science made me believe that I could do anything, and understand everything.
After graduation I hope to work with unmanned space missions, continuing my current work and experience with robotics and aerial systems. I also want to continue working with FIRST and SWE to promote STEM education and research, particularly for middle and high school students.
Almost every child in one point in their life has said they wanted to be a rocket scientist when they grow up. I never imagined that was a possibility for me to work towards. After going through several hardships while living in California I have realized that truly nothing is impossible. Through hard work, dedication, and resilience, a person can beat the odds and dream big dreams like becoming a rocket scientist someday. There have only been a few instances where I knew as soon as I got out of the car that I had an epiphany; this is where I am meant to be. Walking through the Kennedy Space Center has been one of those few instances.
Within its 57 years of existence, NASA has brought many opportunities, improvements and advances in many fields primarily in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). During the year 2011, I had the honor to be part of this elite team during an internship at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. This two month experience not only gave me a closer look at what this magnificent agency does but, it also allowed me the opportunity of discovering that this is where I would like to profess my career.
FSGC Ambassadors must hold U.S. citizenship to be eligible to request travel funds for various conferences and workshops within the continental U.S. Ambassadors will have the opportunity to attend various conferences, workshops and to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to meet with NASA scientists and engineers. Ambassadors from Florida universities are expected to meet every two months via internet video conference with a FSGC representative to be updated on various NASA opportunities.
To apply for a position, students need to complete the following documents:
- A one page essay describing why they want to be an Ambassador and how they would promote NASA opportunities at their university.
- A Resume/Curriculum Vitae.
Once materials are completed, students must submit the application materials in PDF format to Gene Tavares (Eugene.Tavares@ucf.edu).
Ideally, the applicant should be enrolled in classes at their university for at least one year from the date of being appointed a NASA FSGC Ambassador.
The NASA FSGC is funded by a training grant from NASA and only US citizens are eligible for direct support from FSGC. Therefore, the student must be a US citizen if they wish to apply for travel funds. If the student is not a US citizen, he or she can still be selected as an Ambassador, however, they will not be eligible to apply for travel funds.
Please note that being an Ambassador does not guarantee you travel funds. Requests for such funds will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by a FSGC representative to see whether the request fits FSGC’s criteria (presenting or not presenting, topic of presentation, nature of conference, time frame, etc.).