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2017 April 15 - 04:34 pm

Around Campus

A Look at Campus Life at Various Community and Junior Colleges

The Cultural Arts Festival is returning to Florida SouthWestern State College’s Charlotte Campus. Now in its secod year, the festival showcases FSW student-artists such as painters, crafters, singers, musicians and poets. The local community is invited to view student samples of fine art, see live pieces of performance art and even watch as crafts are constructed live at exhibitor tables. Last year over a dozen student-artists participated in the event and more are expected this year. “The festival started because of one student I knew who was a phenomenal artist and I really wanted him to display his work,” said Natala Orobello, FSW professor of English. “I want the people from Charlotte County to see what our students are doing and how talented they are.” For the first time this year, student winners of the Serendipity Writers Contest — originally announced in January — will receive their awards and read their winning poem or short story during the festival.

Wallace State Community College (Alabama) student David Schwaiger has been selected to travel to NASA’s Stennis Space Center this spring to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars Project. Schwaiger has been chosen among select community college students from across the U.S. to be part of NCAS in Mississippi. The five-week scholars program culminates with a four-day onsite event at Stennis Space Center and offers students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA, students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach. Schwaiger, 37, enrolled at Wallace State in January 2016 after spending the majority of his life working in construction. As a construction superintendent, Schwaiger is on track to graduate from Wallace State in May with an associate degree in general studies. Schwaiger plans to major in physics at a four-year college upon transferring from Wallace State. The on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts. NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars is a project funded in part by the Minority University Research and Education Program, or MUREP, which is committed to the recruitment of underrepresented and underserved students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) to sustain a diverse workforce.

Seven Central Arizona College students enrolled in the High Altitude Balloon Payload science class joined other college students from around the state for two NASA-sponsored balloon launches. The launches took place at the University of Arizona’s Maricopa Agricultural Station. The CAC team’s balloon carried packages consisting of two cameras and other instruments for measuring temperature, pressure and light levels. The student-built package was covered in silver glitter, which helped it show up at large distances. The launch took place at 9:30 a.m. with the balloon ascending rapidly and moving southeast. The team followed the balloon’s tracking beacon relayed through the internet to their cell phones and reassembled at the Love’s gas station in Arizona City. From there, they watched the distant white dot in the sky. Following the burst in the stratosphere near 100,000 feet in altitude, the dot suddenly disappeared. The packages, supported with a parachute, descended into a field along Sunland Gin Road. Upon recovery of the package the team found that all experiments were intact. The students are currently analyzing the data they recovered and will present their results at a NASA-sponsored Science Symposium in Phoenix.

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