Several students within the Science, Math, Engineering and Technology (SMET) program at Doña Ana Community College (DACC) were involved in the publication of an education article, along with obtaining several internships and scholarships.
The 35 students, under the direction of Dr. Villicana-Pedraza, presented results of citizen science research and experiential learning activities using a NASA radio telescope, astrobiology classes, data science, and spectroscopy classes.
The results were presented at the New Mexico State University (NMSU) research week, Undergraduate Research & Creative Arts Symposium (URCAS) and the DACC Science Exhibition culminating in the publication of an article in the Astronomy Education Journal.
“In the rapidly evolving digital age, where artificial intelligence plays a pivotal role, it is crucial for STEM students to gain hands-on experience in research and data science,” says Dr. Illhuiyolitzin Villicana Pedraza, assistant professor. “This accomplishment serves as a steppingstone in their STEM careers, as the publication of papers is a key factor in securing scholarships and job opportunities.”
Of the 35 students, some were accepted into multiple internships such as Los Alamos National Laboratory and earned scholarships to continue studying. Most students transferred to four-to-five-year courses to complete their bachelor’s degrees, with one who was offered a position at the local NASA facility.

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