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FCC Student's Incredible Opportunity Could be First Step to Space

Feb 16, 2023

Amarisa Gonzalez, a molecular and cell biology student, has been accepted into the Project PoSSUM at the International Institute for Astronautical Sciences (IIAS) at Florida Tech in Melbourne, FL. It could be her first step to space.

Project PoSSUM is a 501(c)(3) non-profit research and education program researching our mesosphere and communicating the critical role that it plays towards the understanding of our global climate. Only about 10 students get accepted, internationally, per class.

The program prepares its candidates for suborbital human space flight to build unprecedented models of this region of our atmosphere through tomographic imaging and in-situ sampling of noctilucent clouds.

Amarisa is eager to attend the institute scheduled in March and doesn’t want the $6,500 price tag to get in her way. To raise the funds, she has set up a gofundme account asking for the generosity of others. 

“I have had a strong passion for the sciences and have taken every opportunity to expand my knowledge,” she has expressed. As a molecular and cell biology major, her areas of focus include stem cell research, gene editing, space medicine, and astrobiology.

The impressive FCC student is currently in the Leon S. Peters Honors program, president of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society’s FCC Chapter, and Vice President of FCC’s Science and Engineering Club.  For the past two years, she has also been dedicated to NASA’s National Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program. She has worked with NASA to research ways to evolve NASA’s Advanced Air Mobility opportunities and space flight missions.

She is also a highly sought-after tutor helping other FCC students with biology and chemistry. “Besides tutoring and staying involved on campus, I have studied abroad in Costa Rica and Panama to research cultural impacts on the health of citizens in third world countries,” she added. She has been honored for her research on the treatment of sickle cell disease with gene therapy.

The first-generation student plans to transfer to UC Berkeley in the fall.

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