It's been five months since
selecting 51 new scholars to the NASA Motivating Undergraduates in
Science and Technology project. As each scholar brings something to the
NASA program, I had the opportunity to speak with Aida Yoguely
Cortes-Pena, a sophomore at Georgia Tech, studying Mechanical
Aida was born in Columbia and later moved to Puerto Rico
with her parents and two siblings. In grade school she attended an art
and music school where her passion for music played a big role in the
early stages of her life. She learned how to play the electric bass and
have cool jam sessions with friends. Later, she formed a band in high
school called the "HeadLine." According to Ms. Cortes-Pena, the name
(Click the link to view a music video). www.youtube.com/
While she was enthusiastic
about music, the love of math and science would be her ultimate passion.
Aida's father is a professor in Math and Computer Science. Growing up,
Aida's father would leave her problems daily for her to solve. In 5th
grade, a NASA educational film crew from Langley Research Center chose
her elementary school as the filming site for a project they were
conducting in PR. With her talent and training, she was offered a part
in the film presenting how to measure distances.
Her experiences with NASA would not stop there. In high school, she completed two internships with the NASA Inspire project
(For more information about this program visit: www.nasa.gov/offices/education/
Project.html) at John F. Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Endeavor Space Shuttle, Aida's internship at Kennedy Space Center in Florida
Space Station Processing Facility, Aida's internship at Kennedy Space Center in Florida
What is your overall experience with MUST thus far?
Amazing! I really liked this year's MUST Orientation and 21st Century
Leadership Symposium held by NASA in Baltimore, MD. I could feel the
energy from other MUST scholars, NASA staff, and positive speakers.
Of her own initiative, Aida composed a video about her experiences at the symposium. (Please check it out at www.youtube.com/yoguely).
Click play to view symposium video!
What projects are you involved in at your university or personally?
I am affiliated with several organizations, including the Society of
Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE), the Hispanic Recruitment Team at
Georgia Tech (HRT - Student Organization), and the Society of Women
Space Shuttle Lanuch Pad
these organizations, I have tutored K-12 grade students in math and
science at an afterschool program in Peachtree Presbyterian Church
called La Amistad. (Visit the link for more information www.peachtreepres.org/Mission
I served as a mentor to Tech High Charter school students through
Georgia Tech RoboJackets's student design experimentation/ competition
in robotics. (Click the link for more information www.robojackets.org/)
. I also participated with Georgia Aviation Day with the Boys and Girls
Scouts of America showing and explaining to middle school students how a
plane works. "Being a mentor for the project was exciting. I didn't
have programs like that in Puerto Rico."
After the symposium, I wrote a message to myself to view each day:
"Good Morning Dr. Aida. Challenge yourself. Step out of what you know and do something different. Shape the world."
my fifth story I have written and the one thing that they all have in
common (besides being a MUST scholar, loving the symposium, and studying
in the STEM field) is their activism. They are being present in their
community and having the willingness to help others. As the world
changes and times are getting a little hard for others, never stop
striving for greatness.
"Everybody can be great...because anybody can serve." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Click to view Aida's personal website.