Reaching the stars: Broward College student selected as NASA Scholar
The sky is no longer the limit for Ayslinn Blue Cline. The 21-year-old Broward College student was selected as one of 280 participants in the nation to attend the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars onsite experience.
Cline has been dreaming about space since a very early age and always thought it was out of her reach. After a year at Broward College, she realized her dreams of space and stars are possible.
“During the 2017 summer semester I took an Intro to Astronomy class with Professor Susan Barnett that inspired me,” said Cline. “I’ve always been infatuated with space but I assumed I was not smart enough to pursue a career in it.”
Hoping to become an Aerospace doctor, who specializes in maintaining and improving the health of people that spend long periods of time in outer space, Cline plans to major in Astrobiology first.
“Before discovering my passion for astronomy, I planned on going into pre-med. Even though astronomy has captured my heart, medicine is still an interest of mine so Aerospace Medicine is a perfect mix of the two,” she explains.
NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar
The NCAS internships are offered in the spring and fall semesters and provide a learning opportunity for students pursuing a degree in the field of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Students must first complete a five-week online course to be eligible for a four-day onsite experience at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The experience provides the opportunity for students to network and learn from NASA engineers and others.
Cline admits the online course was hard work. The course focused on Mars exploration and she was required to submit a final project explaining innovative approaches on how to get humans on to Mars.
As she prepares for her trip, Cline hopes this experience is a chance to learn about NASA’s current projects and prepare her for a future internship at the site.
Living in space
The determination and ambition of Cline to make a mark in the world are visible in her dream to help humanity live on other planets.
“More than anything, I want to see humanity not only live in space but thrive there and I want to work towards achieving this goal. I believe our future is bright and I want to be a part of making that happen,” she says.
Women in STEM
Cline is an admirer of women in space. She looks up to Sally Ride, the first American female in space, who was an engineer, astrophysicist, and ultimately an astronaut. She also has a strong respect for the “computers”, a team of women at Langley who analyzed all space research data collected by astronauts and made successful spaceflight possible for America. Their story was told through the Oscar-winning movie “Hidden Figures”.
“These women not only changed the future of spaceflight and exploration but opened up many opportunities for other women to work in STEM,” she explains.
Don’t let fear stop you
Cline strongly encourages everyone to pursue their dreams regardless of their fears. Even for herself, finding the determination to pursue a career in a STEM field was hard.
“Some people are worried they can’t do it when they find out how much math is involved but don’t let that scare you away. I am not and never have been great at math and that deterred me for a long time, but the universe is infinitely large and so are our capabilities,” she says.
She also urges fellow students to get hands-on experience in the field they wish to pursue. She recommends volunteering at museums, observatories, and other places that will allow them to get involved in the subject.
To learn more about STEM majors offered at Broward College, visit http://www.broward.edu/academics/programs/Pages/science-technology-math-engineering-STEM.aspx
See the stars at Broward College’s Buehler Planetarium.