Student Spotlight: Sabrine Elfarissi
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Student Spotlight: Sabrine Elfarissi

NASA scholar learns problem-solving techniques and communication skills

Computer science major Sabrine Elfarissi is one of a dozen El Camino College MESA|STEM students to participate in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) this year. She can sum up her experience at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in a single word: amazing.

"It's one thing learning about aerospace in a classroom setting than it is in person," said Elfarissi, who is also a member of the Honors Transfer Program and ECC's cross country and track teams. "It was so incredible working with community college students from across the country that share the same interests as me; NASA is a melting pot of brilliant ideas. My favorite part was being able to talk with NASA engineers about their projects and how they got their job. It was so inspiring to hear their stories and their background. It made the whole experience a lot less intimidating and made my dreams to one day work for NASA a reality."

Elfarissi was selected to travel to JPL to participate in this five-week online activity that culminates with a four-day on-site event at a NASA center. Students form teams and establish fictional companies interested in Mars exploration. Each team is responsible for developing and testing a prototype rover, forming a company infrastructure, managing a budget, and developing communications and outreach. Many students also find that participating in this program helps determine a major course of study.

"At JPL I was surrounded by driven and motivated people who love what they do," she said. "I thought to myself, 'Yes. This is what I want to do. This is where I see myself as an intern or full-time employee in a few years.' It motivated me to continue challenging myself."