Two College of the Canyons were selected to participate in the Lucy Student Pipeline Accelerator and Competency Enabler (L’SPACE) Virtual Academy, an interactive and team-based student collaboration offered through NASA’s Lucy Mission.
Held in the fall, the 12-week academy taught undergraduate science and engineering students rigorous, project-based STEM workforce development, which included mission development skills and protocols imparted by NASA scientists and engineers.
One of the students selected was Arthur Berberyan, a sophomore student at the college majoring in physics, who was thrilled when he got the news he was selected to participate.
“It was a really good feeling,” said Berberyan. “It makes you feel as though all the hard work you do really does pay off.”
Berberyan heard about L’SPACE while working on the Astronomy & Physics Club’s High-Altitude Student Platform (HASP) project, which he says prepared him well for the academy’s rigorous nature.
“HASP prepared me to work independently as well as in team efforts,” said Berberyan. “It made going into the L’SPACE academy feel very familiar in the aspect of what to do rather than getting overwhelmed.”
As a L’SPACE participant, Berberyan benefited from webinars hosted by Arizona State University professors, NASA projects managers and actual NASA employees and scientists working on the Lucy mission.
The experience was a dream come true for Berberyan who has loved science since he was a kid.
“As a child I was always more interested in the science channel than generic children’s shows,” said Berberyan, who plans on getting a degree in astrophysics and a PhD in a related field.
Another student, Coulson Aguirre, also applied for L’SPACE and was selected to participate in the program.
“Taking many science, technology, engineering and mathematics courses at College of the Canyons prepared me to be a valuable team player in the Lucy program,” said Aguirre. Before I applied to Lucy, I was involved in National Community of Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) and the COC Payload Team.”
Aguirre has goals to become an engineer for NASA, and believes that the program will prepare him for his dream career.
“By participating in programs like Lucy, it allows students to make connections, gain experience, and understand what it takes to be a NASA engineer.”
“It has been incredible to see how students have grown through their participation in the HASP project,” said Teresa Ciardi, a physical science professor at the college and HASP co-advisor. “Seventeen students have gone on to complete internships at companies such as Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.”