STEM Students visit Caltech and Jet Propulsion Lab

On Friday August 21 approximately 30 MSJC STEM Students and STEM Team members had an opportunity to visit Pasadena’s California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). At Caltech MSJC STEM students toured the campus, including dorms and other campus life facilities. While on campus MSJC students had an opportunity to meet with and interact with Caltech students from a variety of academic programs and disciplines.
In the afternoon MSJC STEM students continued their visit with a tour of the world famous NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. JPL is the lead US center for robotic exploration of the Solar System and beyond. Current JPL projects include the Cassini mission to Saturn, and the ongoing Spirit and Opportunity Mars Rover missions. Security considerations required advance planning and security clearances. This was one trip which had a hard cap on the number of participants. Even Faculty and Staff had to meet the strict screening requirements. Janet McCurdy, MSJC Transfer Coordinator stated that “When the chance to visit JPL came up, we had to act quickly. The only available date was during the first week of the Fall Semester. We quickly decided that this opportunity was too important to pass up.” Even with the short notice, available seats were quickly taken. A highlight of the trip for many students was the tour of the JPL Space Flight Operations Facility, and Spacecraft Assembly Facility. For many, this was a once in a life-time opportunity to see real-world application of science and technology in some of the most ambitious and far reaching technical projects ever undertaken.