Leaders at NASA’s Johnson Space Center Cooperative Education Program for undergraduate and graduate students have invited Daniel De la Rosa, a junior at UHD majoring in accounting, to join the program later this summer.
The co-op is open to graduate and undergraduate students from around the country. Students alternate spending semesters at school with semesters at the Space Center working in paid, full-time positions directly related to their field of study. About 160 students representing 50 schools nationwide participate in the selective program each year.
De La Rosa will begin accounting work in one of the NASA divisions on Aug. 17.
Since the formation of the cooperative program in 1961, NASA has relied on the program to help recruit potential employees. The Space Center hires undergraduates in business, engineering and computer science. The application and interview process is competitive, and regularly attracts more than 800 applicants for 45 positions.
De La Rosa hopes the assignment turns into a permanent position when he graduates in 2010, because he likes the idea of working at NASA.
“I wanted to work at NASA partly for job security, but also for the opportunity to work at the nation’s space agency,” De La Rosa said.
The Pasadena native transferred to UHD from San Jacinto College. He started his college career as an engineering major, but found he was much better at business. It must run in the family, he says. He became familiar with the co-op when his sister, Blanca, participated in the program more than eight years ago. She now works at the Space Center as an accountant, and his family recognizes the opportunity provided through the co-op program is substantial.
“My parents are very proud and my sister is happy,” he said.
Knowing how competitive the co-op and job market are, De La Rosa keeps his grade up. He holds a 4.0 (perfect) grade-point average. He says good grades and good advice from UHD professors go hand in glove.
“My professors helped prepare me and other UHD students for the real world,” said De La Rosa. “I felt confident in the interview. It feels good to accomplish something you set out to do.”