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Release Date: 
Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Student Selected for Exclusive Nationwide NASA Program

Ali Tarraf, a Dearborn resident studying at HFC, is the only college student in Michigan to have earned selection to travel to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, Tex., this past fall to participate in the National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) project.

Tarraf, an alumnus of Fordson High School, is one of only 40 community college students from across the nation to take part in the NCAS. He will graduate in December with an associate degree in Arts with an emphasis on math and science. He will continue his education next semester at The University of Michigan-Dearborn (U-M Dearborn), where he will study Bio-Engineering.

“This is an incredible program for community college students, especially those who are interested in a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM)-related career like me. Also, this was an all-expense paid program which may lead to further opportunities with NASA. I felt great pride representing HFC and Michigan. I think we can help spread the message about this program with our College and show the community that there are HFC students like myself who are able to be part of such programs,” said Tarraf.

The semester-long scholars program culminated with a three-day on-site event at Johnson Space Center and offered students the opportunity to interact with NASA engineers and others as they learned more about careers in science and engineering. While at NASA, students formed teams and established fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team was responsible for developing a prototype rover, designing a 3-D model of their rover and forming a company infrastructure, including budget, communications and presentations.

The on-site experience at NASA included a tour of facilities and briefings by NASA subject matter experts.

The NCAS project is a project based on the Texas Aerospace Scholars, originally created by the state of Texas in partnership with Johnson Space Center and the Texas education community. Both projects work to encourage community and junior college students to enter careers in science and engineering to join the nation’s high technology workforce.

With this program, NASA continues the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s educational programs. It is directly tied to the agency's major education goal of attracting and retaining students in STEM disciplines critical to NASA’s future missions, which include missions to Mars and beyond.

For more information about the NCAS project, call 281-483-4112 or email You can also visit