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Junior Chosen to Participate in Aerospace Scholars Program

Junior Chosen to Participate in Aerospace Scholars Program

Irissa Machetta, a junior at Klein Collins High School in Spring and an Aerospace Scholar has been selected to participate in NASA’s Johnson Space Center’s (JSC) High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program this summer. 

Nominated by her state legislator, Ms. Machetta has been chosen as one of the few high school scholars from Texas to be part of this unique NASA program. 

During the school year, selected scholars completed a rigorous 16-week interactive curriculum including distance-learning modules, projects and assignments. The onsite program at NASA will include working in teams, briefings and interaction with NASA experts, and applying newfound knowledge working as a team to design a mission to Mars. 

Ms. Machetta’s onsite experience will conclude with presentations of her team’s proposal to members of the Texas Legislature, the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and JSC senior management. 

After her NASA experience, Ms. Machetta will join a rigorous six-month STEM program as a scholar sponsored by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She will also intern at Rice University’s Tribomechadynamics Research Laboratory. 

“I am grateful to be given these opportunities through the solid support and encouragement of my STEM teachers,” Machetta said. “NASA is a pioneer in leading-edge research, and it is truly a blessing to be at the frontline. I’m looking forward to learning from the best scientists in the world and working with them on new ideas to explore, I am avid to make my contribution to scientific advancement.”

The State of Texas, in partnership with JSC and the Texas educational community, developed HAS in 1999 to encourage more students to pursue studies and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). With this program, NASA continues the Agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s educational programs. It is directly tied to the Agency’s goal of attracting the best and brightest students in STEM disciplines critical to NASA’s future missions, which includes the mission to Mars. 

“The determination it takes to complete this rigorous HAS program shows the great character of the students who are already balancing school, extracurricular activities, and applying for college. Time management is a key component for success. Once the students spend time at NASA and are mentored by NASA experts (which also includes HAS alumni), their brilliant minds are more determined than ever to take their next giant leap into a STEM-related field.” Jessica Cordero, HAS Manager. 

For additional information, contact High School Aerospace Scholars at or 281-483-3112. To learn more about HAS visit: 


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