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Samoan student gains entry to NASA programme

Friday 5 August 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Regional, Samoa

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Samoan student gains entry to NASA programme
Chester Leoso Photo: Supplied

A Samoan student has been selected for the highly competitive NASA information and computer science programme.

Chester Leoso, a student at the Leeward Community College in Honolulu, was accepted into the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars programme from more than 5000 applicants.

Only 147 were selected with Leoso the only student admitted from Hawaiʻi.

Oklahoma State University is hosting the NCAS programme, which is being held virtually this year, and will provide scholars with the opportunity to network within NASA to potentially earn internships or related jobs.

"Knowing the net probability of being accepted was 10 percent was fulfilling once that acceptance email came through," Leoso said.

"It's one of those feelings that leave you to wonder the limitations of your abilities and you begin building confidence in yourself and capabilities."

His interest in NASA and space exploration grew from a newsletter he received from academic advisor Rien Vidad.

It led to a hobby involving the combination of art and physics to create works of art.

Leoso, who is on track to graduate in May 2023, said he plans to further his computer sciences university education before eventually working in the field.