Mohamad Riasati, Instructor of Mathematics at Lord Fairfax Community College’s (LFCC) Fauquier Campus, recently attended a professional development workshop for community college faculty in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines at NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The two-day workshop (June 3-5) from the STEM Takes Flight initiative focused on the integration of STEM in the NASA workplace with the purpose of assisting faculty in educating students on the importance of teamwork, technical skills, and problem solving.
Besides touring the center, participants experienced a hands-on case study in trouble shooting, real-time decision making, and teamwork. Riasati participated in an Antares mission simulation. This involved five college professors working with NASA mentors: Range Safety Officer (RSO), M&O (Mission and Operations), Test Director (TD), Radar Coordinator (RC) and Surveillance Coordinator (SC). Riasati’s role in the simulation was overseeing Mission and Operations (M&O). “I was responsible for resolving smooth operation of telemetry, optical communication, data quality, and leading troubleshooting of any anomalies relating to range assets and services and providing information to the test director,”said Riasati.
STEM Takes Flight at Virginia’s Community Colleges is an initiative that provides mentored scholarships, paid industry internships, NASA research experiences, and new courses to foster STEM career awareness and workplace skills. It was developed through the Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC). The VSGC is a coalition of the Virginia Community College System, five Virginia colleges and universities, NASA, state educational agencies, and other institutions representing diverse STEM and aerospace education, research, and workforce development interests. For more details about the program visit the website at www.vsgc.odu.edu/stemtakesflight.