By Natasha Allen
Some Southwest Texas State University Students could be launching their careers when Space Shuttle Columbia blasts off Thursday.
Last summer Shanika Glenn, Sandra Beccara, and Geronimo Cortez were students at Alamo Community College in San Antonio. They were part of a “Bridges to Baccalaureate” program at SWT that encouraged minorities to pursue careers in biomedical science. The program is funded by the National Institutes of Health.
Thursday, one of their experiments will be launched with the Space Shuttle Columbia. SWT biology professor Bob McLean received an assignment from NASA to study how three different types of bacteria thrive without gravity. The students worked long hours to learn about the experiment’s different bacteria.
While working with McLean and SWT biologist Dana Garcia, the group developed an experiment to examine the effect of long-term space travel on bacterial growth.
The students will arrive back in Austin Thursday. McLean will return to Florida to pick up the experiment when the shuttle lands at the Kennedy Space Center February 1.