TSC student receives out-of-this-world opportunity

TSC Science alum Daniel Gutierrez.

Daniel Gutierrez joined the ranks of Texas Southmost College students who have been named a NASA Community College Aerospace Scholar (NCAS), earning his acceptance after completing the program last year.

“I was in shock when I received my acceptance letter. Who knew a guy from Brownsville could get an opportunity like this,” said the 21-year-old. “I really thought it was a long shot, but it turned into an exciting moment and I received an opportunity that will be beneficial to my future.”

NCAS is five-week interactive online-learning opportunity highlighted by a three-day experience at NASA, aimed at community college students. Students nationwide selected to participate in this competitive program have an interest or skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

For Gutierrez, who has an interest in the automotive industry and completed the online portion of the program last August after graduating TSC in spring 2020, found this experience to be eye opening.

And because of his successful completion, he received his invitation to the NASA Experience, the second part of this program to be held in March, which will now be virtual and cover interactive moon and mars mission plans, NASA workforce speakers, virtual NASA tours, résumé building and NASA internship processes.

“I grew up around the automotive industry because of my dad, and throughout the years my interest in machinery and engines has grown,” he said. “Getting an in-depth look into how NASA rovers and missions are engineered has introduced me to a whole new world and set of career opportunities.”

He now hopes to one day work with Ford Motor Company, NASA or SpaceX.

The Brownsville native recently graduated with an associate degree in general studies from TSC and completed prerequisites to pursue a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.

“TSC has shaped me and prepared me for my future and without it I would have never had this amazing experience,” said Gutierrez. “I’m at Texas A&M-Kingsville now because TSC provided me with the knowledge and skills to move forward with my education.”

Gutierrez said his entire TSC experience from working on campus to his instructors’ guidance helped him succeed.

“I carry with me, and always will, what I learned at TSC,” he said. “It’s an honor to represent TSC at NASA and in Kingsville. I’m a proud Scorpion and I encourage others to take full advantage of what TSC has to offer. It will change their lives.”