For Immediate Release - Southwest Tennessee Community College

Date: October 12, 2010

Southwest Tennessee Community College Student Headed for NASA's Aerospace Scholars Program

"To be successful, challenged, and happy to the top if I have anything to say about it." That's Lehman Sammons' career destination, and "the top" may well be where he lands.

The Southwest student has been selected from about 350 two-year college applicants across the nation as one of 90 who will attend the National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCCAS) program at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, November 3-5, to participate in a three-day on-site event. To qualify, students completed four Web-based assignments during the school year, maintaining a required minimum 94 average to qualify for the experience. They will apply what they have learned during the year to work with NASA engineers. Sammons' overall average was 96, with his rover design graded 100.

In the program, students will interact with each other as they learn more about careers in science and engineering. For their assignment, they will form teams, establish "companies" interested in Mars exploration, develop a prototype rover, including a line drawing of it, and form the company infrastructure including budget, communications, and presentations. The on-site experience at Marshall will include a tour of facilities and briefings by noted NASA employees.

Sammons will complete two A.A.S. degrees at Southwest in December, in Computer Engineering Technology and Electrical/Electronic Engineering. An indifferent scholar at White Station High school more interested in making music than good grades he always had a great interest in astronomy, the stars, and the way the universe works. This evolved into as great an interest in electronics and, finally in making the decision to return to school, he applied at Southwest. "It was the best decision I could have made affordable, a fast-track entry to work in two years, excellent engineering department, a top-notch campus day care for my son that decision has completely exceeded my expectations," said Sammons.

"Adding this (NCCAS program) to my resume will definitely help me to stand out above other applicants at any job I may apply for," Sammons commented. He has already interviewed with TVA and says "It went very well and they said I should expect to hear from them within the next three weeks, as soon as they finish their interviewing process."

The NCCAS program is based on Texas Aerospace Scholars, a state of Texas partnership with NASA and the Texas educational community. Both programs are designed to encourage two-year college students to enter careers in science and engineering, and ultimately join the nation's highly technical workforce.

With this program, NASA continues the agency's investment in educational programs that attract and retain students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, disciplines critical to NASA's future missions. For more information contact Deborah Hutchings, NCCAS program manager, at (281) 483-8623.

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Photo Caption: Lehman Sammons
Photo Caption: Rover Design with Text

For more information contact: Pat O'Brien, (901) 333-4021, pobrien@southwest.tn.edu,
Farris Bldg., Room 1002, 5983 Macon Cove, Memphis, TN 38134