MCC Students Selected as Aerospace Scholars

Two MCC students selected as National Community College Aerospace Scholars

MCC NASA ScholarsNational Community College Aerospace Scholars Ricky LaDesma and Jonathan Talos Mesa Community College Students Ricky LeDesma, of Chandler, and Jonathan Talos, of Mesa, have been selected from a highly competitive process as National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS). Talos and LeDesma will spend three days at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA from Feb. 26-28.

NCAS is an interactive online learning opportunity highlighted by an onsite experience at NASA. Selected students are U.S. citizens currently pursuing their initial undergraduate degree at a community college who have an interest and aptitude for mathematics, science, engineering or computer science. Winning scholars are chosen based on online module scores, completed applications and overall mission design.

“This opportunity has opened doors for previous MCC students who were chosen,” said Duane Oakes, Faculty Director, Mesa Community College Center for Community & Civic Engagement. “It’s an opportunity that will change their lives.”

MCC aerospace engineering major Ricky LeDesma, 29, said he heard about the opportunity through Oakes. Upon completion of his courses at MCC, LeDesma plans to transfer to a university and earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering. He would like to design spacecraft launch vehicles.

“I have had an interest in astronomy and all things science related since I was a child,” LeDesma said. “When I found out I was selected I was, of course, ecstatic.” LeDesma said. 

Jonathan Talos, 21, is majoring in biomedical engineering at MCC. He said he wasn’t sure he would be selected for the program, but worked up to 12 hours a day on the competition.

“I’m an engineering fanatic, including aerospace engineering, and the chance to work with NASA really sparked my interest,” said Talos, who plans to transfer to Arizona State University or Berkley after earning his associate’s degree at MCC.  “After all this opportunity opens up, I’ll see what comes my way.”

To learn more about the NCAS program visit:

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About Mesa Community College
Mesa Community College provides outstanding transfer and career and technical programs, workforce development, and life-long learning opportunities to residents of the East Valley area of Phoenix, Arizona. MCC excels in teaching, learning and empowering its more than 40,000 students who attend annually to succeed in a local and global community.  Mesa Community College is one of ten colleges that comprise the Maricopa County Community College District. For additional information please visit

Media Contacts
Dawn Zimmer (480) 461-7892,
Sally Mesarosh (480) 892-1393,

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Publication Date: 
Thursday, February 6, 2014