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‘Technology is changing:’ WCTC students come closer to the stars thanks to NASA scholars program

Kalila Master

PEWAUKEE -- We’ve all heard the phrase, ‘It’s not rocket science,' but in this case, it actually is.

“You could feel the ground shake just from the amount of power, and the huge steam cloud just going," said Kalila Master.

Master and Telemachos Agoudemos are students at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) – students who have come closer than most to the stars.

Telemachos Agoudemos

“I’d seen some stuff in the Army. I’d never seen anything like that. Just to see all that power right there," said Agoudemos.

In February, they became the first two WCTC students to ever participate in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars program. They spent four days in February at the John C. Stennis Space Center in Mississippi -- NASA's largest rocket-testing facility -- with other students from around the country.

"Seeing how everyone works together there, and how they communicate and what the atmosphere was, it was amazing," said Master.

Split into four teams, the different groups had to create a company structure -- figuring out how to fund and complete different challenges.

“There were different Mars missions where you had to build, essentially, a rover to do different jobs," Master described.

The program targets minority and under-represented students. Agoudemos is an Army veteran now returning to school in his 40s.

“Technology is changing in a lot of ways, and even as an adult, we need to be able to sit there and keep up with it, and I’m able to do it," said Agoudemos.

Master is one of only two women graduating from WCTC this spring with a focus in electrical engineering.

“You either get, ‘wow, that’s amazing and I’d never be able to do that myself,' or sometimes people look at you like you have two heads, like, ‘are you sure that’s what you want to do?’” said Master.

While they may not end up working for NASA, both students learned an important lesson -- if the sky isn’t the limit, then nothing is.

Waukesha County Technical College