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NASA SEMAA Students Pursue STEM Degrees and Impact the STEM Workforce
September 27, 2010


Six SEMAA graduates received the 2008 NASA SEMAA Next Generation Pioneer Award. This prestigious national award is presented annually to leading NASA SEMAA graduates for their long term participation in SEMAA and subsequent accomplishments related to the study of STEM.

NASA SEMAA Next Generation Pioneers
Robert Johnson participated in SEMAA at SECME/Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN) for three years, and is currently a freshman at Nashville State Community College majoring in Computer Networking and working toward his certifications in CCNA, A+, and MCDST. Robert currently serves as the Assistant Education Coordinator at SECME/TSU, where he is helping to implement the NSF-funded General Robotics Automation Sensing and Perception and Astrobiology in the Secondary Classroom curriculum modules for SEMAA high school students.

Monica Chillious participated in SEMAA at Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland, OH) for nine years, and has since graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with a minor in Chemistry. Monica is currently employed with TREK Diagnostic Systems, where she supports products and processing techniques related to blood culturing and bacterial detection in clinical and veterinary specimens.

Ashley Jones participated in SEMAA at Morgan State University (Baltimore, MD) for eight years, and is currently a sophomore at MSU majoring in Industrial Engineering. Ashley was the recipient of a NASA Robotics Academy Internship at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in 2008. Ashley is also a recent recipient of the Maryland Space Grant Scholarship and one day hopes to work for NASA. She currently serves as a mentor and robotics instructor for SEMAA students still in the K-12 pipeline.

Naomi Florentino participated in SEMAA at SECME/Tennessee State University (Nashville, TN) for three years, during which time she traveled by bus for more than two hours (round-trip) every Saturday to participate in SEMAA. As a SEMAA student, Naomi participated in the SEMAA GRASP curriculum and was a member of the site's FIRST Robotics Team. Naomi graduated with honors in May 2008 and is currently a freshman at David Lipscomb University majoring in Mechanical Engineering.

Taylor Tomassi participated in SEMAA at Fernbank Science Center (Atlanta, GA) for six years, and is currently a junior at Georgia Tech majoring in Materials Science and Engineering. Taylor interned at the WINSHIP Cancer Institute at Emory University, where she co-authored a project/paper entitled, "Cross-Species Molecular Profiling Identifies the GSK-3 Beta Pathway in Soy Mediated Prostate Cancer Growth Inhibition" an presented the paper at the annual meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research. Taylor has served as the Middle School Outreach Committee Chair for the Society of Women Engineers and is a recipient of the President's Undergraduate Research Award.

Jonathan Lovegren participated in SEMAA at Fernbank Science Center (Atlanta, GA) for five years, and has since graduated from Georgia Tech with a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering. For two years during his undergraduate studies, Jonathan interned as an engineer in the Advanced Development Programs Division of Lockheed Martin's "Skunk Works" in Palmdale, California. While at Lockheed Martin, Jonathan worked on vertical takeoff and landing unmanned aerial vehicles. Jonathan is presently attending graduate school at MIT, working toward a Masters Degree.

"Through SEMAA I was able to get into hands-on programs. I was able to use knowledge and use intelligence, but in a different way than sitting at a desk ... and that meant the world to me."
Monica Chillious, Microbiologist
TREK Diagnostic Systems
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A collage of three students
NASA SEMAA students are making diverse career choices within STEM fields.
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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator