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Biological Sciences Student Selected for NASA Internship Program

Biological Sciences Student Selected for NASA Internship Program

Mexico City, July 7, 2024. In the first semester of her bachelor’s degree, Cynthia Elizabeth Valenzuela Chapa discovered space biotechnology, and from that moment on she knew that this was what she wanted to do.

As he researched how to achieve his goal, he found that one way was to be part of NASA’s International Aeronautics and Space Program, a program that provides astronaut training to a select group of 60 students each year.

Now the princess is one step closer to realizing her dream by being selected for this year’s edition, which will be held in November in Huntsville, Alabama, in the United States.

“They train them as astronauts, they teach them rockets, robotics, flying and they can do a project, which is the part that interests me the most,” says the 21-year-old biotechnology student at UANL’s School of Biological Sciences. “The project has to solve a space problem and maybe send it to the International Space Station. That’s my biggest goal.”

To attend the program, it is necessary to cover the registration fee of $3,950, or approximately 72,000 pesos, and initially the student sought support from sponsors, companies and the public through a crowdfunding platform.

After El Norte published her story last Thursday, the Autonomous University of Nuevo Leon confirmed that it would cover all of her expenses.

When he met with the young woman on Friday, university president Santos Guzman Lopez assured her that the top university would cover the cost of the program (which already includes accommodation and meals), as well as flights.

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“I have already given the indication that everything necessary has been covered and that the budget is not short, so there is no problem,” Guzman said.

During the meeting, in the Rector’s Tower of Ciudad, the Rector also emphasized that any student or teacher who needs support to continue their training can count on the support of the University.

Cynthia said that in order to apply for the program, she submitted a project that focused on preventing osteoporosis in astronauts, a common problem.

He commented, “Osteoporosis occurs in astronauts due to the microgravity environment, where no mechanical force is applied to the bone, so it becomes porous and very fragile, and the astronaut is vulnerable to fractures when performing his daily tasks.”

“I am very happy, thank you very much to UANL and the faculty for the support, it is an opportunity that I will take full advantage of.”

Text and photo: Reforma Agency