Jake Kalish to Participate in NASA’s Community College Aerospace Scholars Program

PHOTO: Jake KalishMIDDLETOWN, N.Y. -- SUNY Orange engineering student Jake Kalish will be among 92 community college students from across the country who will visit one of two National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) facilities this May as part of the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.

The program is designed to inspire interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines among outstanding community college students by offering hands-on opportunities to design and discuss robotic rovers. Students will visit either NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., from May 1-3, or NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston from May 9-11.

The teams will establish fictional companies pursuing Mars exploration. Each team will develop, design and build a prototype rover, then use their prototypes to navigate a course, collect rocks and water and return to a home base. The 92 students selected for this year’s program hail from 24 states. The on-site experience at NASA includes a tour of facilities and briefings by noted NASA employees—including astronauts.

Kalish, a resident of Campbell Hall who is concluding his first year at SUNY Orange, will join the group of students visiting the Johnson Space Center. Kalish is the third student in the past three years to represent SUNY Orange in NASA’s aerospace scholars program. Nilda Oyola and Tony Kalish, Jake’s older brother, became the first SUNY Orange students to participate in the prestigious program when they were selected in 2010.

Participants were selected based on completion of interactive web-based assignments throughout the school year. The program is based on the Texas Aerospace Scholars program, originally created in partnership with NASA and the Texas educational community. Aerospace Scholars programs are designed to encourage students to enter careers in science and engineering and ultimately join the nation’s technical workforce.

“I am so proud of the Community College Aerospace Scholars program,” says Leland Melvin, NASA’s associate administrator for education. “Community colleges offer NASA a great pool of STEM talent critical to our scientific and exploration initiatives. They also serve a large portion of our nation’s minority students. Engaging these underserved and underrepresented learners in STEM initiatives helps NASA build a more inclusive and diverse workforce for the future.”

For a complete list of the student participants, their states and the community colleges they represent, visit: Information about the Aerospace Scholars program can be found at

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Mike Albright
Communications Officer
115 South Street
Middletown, NY 10940