N.C. A&T honors late Dr. Ronald E. McNair in 36th Celebration

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Melvin Harris, theSCORE Editor

N.C. A&T honored the late NASA astronaut and Aggie alum Ronald E. McNair by hosting  a live- streamed event celebrating 36 years since his passing. Students and Alumni came together to celebrate the impact McNair had on their lives. 

McNair was a trailblazer in his own field by becoming one of the first African American astronauts. The Aggie alum didn’t stop there, McNair would later become a mission specialist astronaut for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Space Shuttle Program. 

Unfortunately, on Jan. 28, 1986, he was aboard the Challenger for his second mission when it experienced malfunctions and crashed within 73 seconds. McNair died along with six other crew members. 

Many McNair scholars were inspired by his work and contributions to science. Although some students may believe his work might be a tough act to follow.

Charles Cooper III is a senior mechanical engineer student with a concentration in aerospace who chose engineering because he enjoyed design. As a kid, building things and hands-on activities came naturally to Cooper. So choosing N.C. A&T was not a hard decision for the soon-to-be graduate. 

“I chose A&T because it was the number one public HBCU for engineering and they also had aerospace[as an]option which fit perfectly for what I was going for,” Cooper said. 

Cooper, like McNair, put a lot of time into his craft as he got experience in his field with three internships while being in college. He received two internships with GE Aviation and Apple where he learned to always be open to learning and networking. 

Senior physics student Joshua White believes that McNair inspired him to be courageous and to go for companies such as NASA. 

“Dr. Ronald McNair taught me that I shouldn’t be afraid to pursue majors like physics. I shouldnt be afraid of STEM in general. I should be able to go to places like NASA and Cornell and perform like I know I can,” White continued. “I will continue to Dr. Ronald Mcnair’s legacy by teaching young kids stem and showing them that they can pursue their passions.”

Cooper, White and many other students are a reflection of the impact McNair left here at N.C. A&T.