ncas patchNASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) gives community college STEM students a NASA experience and encourages them to finish a 2-year degree or transfer to a 4-year university to pursue a NASA-related field or career.  During the program, students participate in NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar by completing STEM-based activities online to become eligible for the NASA on Campus NCAS Event. 

Have you considered a career at NASA? 

Don't think it is for you?  Did you know that NASA hires all types of majors?  NASA needs you! 

Have you heard of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program? It is a national program run by NASA strictly for Community College students and it is an excellent way to get your foot in the door! We are bringing this opportunity to YOU at Cerritos College!

  • ALL MAJORS ARE WELCOME (and needed!  Yes, that includes YOURS!) 


Here's what you need to know:

The NCAS opportunity pathway:

  • Mission 1

    Discover is a 5-week, self-paced online course.
    This orientation to NASA sets a baseline for all students wishing to pursue subsequent NCAS missions. Students will gain a broad knowledge of what NASA has in its current plan and how they can play a role. STEM based activities embedded in the online course include live and recorded subject matter expert lectures, interactive multimedia on NASA content, interactions with fellow aerospace scholars, knowledge assessments including a final project, and guidance and support from trained professional educators. Use the link and dates below to attend a virtual information session for Mission 1:  



  • Mission 2

    Explore allows students to participate in one of two educational simulation experiences.
    Exploration simulation is a gamified mission to the Moon or Mars where students develop a design solution that integrates multiple systems. This simulation highlights the acts of prioritizing and making trade-offs to remain within limits. Alternatively, career simulation situates students to take on mock roles as NASA employees to gain exposure to workplace structure and culture. This simulation highlights the personal responsibilities and team dynamics needed to accomplish a huge goal such as a lunar surface exploration mission.


  • Mission 3

    Innovate is an Engineering Design Challenge.
    Participating students will be hosted onsite for a week at an NCAS partner institution or a NASA field center. STEM based activities for all students will include an engineering design challenge as well as facility tours, live subject matter expert presentations, a resume workshop, a networking event, a job shadowing opportunity, and a 4-year college campus visit. However, the type of engineering design challenge differs depending on the host location. Students affiliated with an NCAS partner institution will participate in a robotics competition. During the 4-day engagement, students collaborate with team members as a fictitious aerospace company vying for a NASA rover contract. Working in assigned roles, students utilize STEM-industry mentors to guide the rover design. Students unaffiliated with an NCAS partner institution will participate with a NASA mission directorate in a collaborative capstone problem based on current challenges faced by NASA. Thus, this engagement begins with online activities two weeks prior to the actual onsite event to brief students on the emerging and relevant details of the problem. Leading up to and during the 4-day onsite event, students develop possible solutions to the capstone problem and report them to a panel of NASA guests.


  • Visit the official NCAS website for more information, such as upcoming dates and deadlines and how to apply.  Don't wait! Registration starts on October 11th, 2023.  



  • Must have successfully completed the most recent NCAS Mission 1: Discover and NCAS Mission 2: Explore.
  • High school graduate or equivalent and at least 18 years of age
  • US Citizen
  • Registered at a U.S. community college during the semester of the team experience
  • Concurrent enrollment or completion of 9+ hours (units) of STEM coursework.  If you aren't sure if your class counts, please ask! (They can be very liberal.)
  • Able to commit to a 5-week online session 
  • Internet access




Learn more about NCAS:


Visit the Physics/Astronomy/Engineering Department website to learn about our program