Student Spotlight: Andrew Krall
Andrew Krall didn’t do well in physics during high school.
“Halfway through my pre-calculus course at College of DuPage, I was studying ellipses and learned that they can be used to calculate orbits,” he said. “I started to see how everything connected together – math and physics and space. It just snowballed from there. I even gave two speeches in speech class on space.”
In 2017, Krall had an opportunity to travel to NASA’s Langley Research Center as part of the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars project (NCAS). He learned about the NCAS program from Associate Professor of Physics Rumiana Nikolova and initially qualified for a five-week online scholars program. He then was selected as one of 304 community college students from across the country to travel to NASA.
During the four-day visit, he was part of a team that developed and tested a prototype Mars rover, created a company infrastructure, managed a budget, and developed communications and outreach. Krall’s team voted him as its MVP.
“A large part of the experience was networking. It was exciting to meet employees who started at a community college and now work for NASA,” he said. “It was an intense experience. It opened my eyes to what NASA can do. It also helped me narrow my career focus.”
Krall is majoring in Physics and would like to pursue a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering. He then wants to work for NASA or SpaceX and ideally would like to become an astronaut.
“If I can’t go to Mars or work on a rover that goes to Mars, I want to save the earth,” he said. “It’s a cultural thing with my generation. My friends and I always talk about what we can do to help the planet.”
As for College of DuPage, he is amazed by the quality of his educational foundation.
“I’ve been able to take all of my gen eds and it’s cool how flexible my schedule can be,” he said. “I have so many options to pick and choose from, and this allows me to work and save money. I also didn’t come to COD expecting to go to NASA, so the fact that I had this opportunity is exciting.”
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