2014 Rogers Scholars alum and Morehead State University graduate Sarah Estep of Science Hill is well on her way to a promising career in NASA’s space exploration program.

She recently accepted a position as Systems Safety Engineer at Boeing in Huntsville, AL, and will be working on safety for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS), a powerful, advanced launch vehicle that will be used to explore deep-space destinations.

Estep knew early on she wanted to pursue a career in aerospace engineering. The Center for Rural Development’s Rogers Scholars program helped to solidify her career choice and open doors for her future.

Before Rogers Scholars, Estep had not settled on a college or university. The high school junior was still undecided when she attended a Rogers Scholars College Career Fair.

It was at this meeting she learned about Morehead State University’s Space Science program and college scholarship opportunities available through the Rogers Scholars program.

“This ended up being a perfect match for me. I was able to pursue aerospace engineering while still remaining close to home,” she said. “Because of Rogers Scholars and Morehead State University, I have been able to do so many things I never imagined.”

Sarah displays a prototype of the release mechanism for the PRANDTL-M aircraft.

Estep completed a 10-week summer internship with NASA last year at the Armstrong Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base in California working on a prototype of the Preliminary Research AerodyNamic Design To Land on Mars, or PRANDTL-M, a tiny, remotely controlled aircraft that could one day glide through Martian skies and send information back to Earth.

“It was probably the best thing I have been able to do,” she said of the NASA internship. “Everyday was so exciting there.”

Estep said Rogers Scholars encouraged her to step outside her comfort zone and follow her dreams.

“One of the most beneficial things for me was the college scholarship opportunities offered through the Rogers Scholars program,” Estep said. “It made so many colleges much more attainable for me to be able to pick the best fit for me, without having to worry as much about the cost of education.”

The Rogers Scholars program provides valuable leadership skills and exclusive college scholarship opportunities for high school students in Southern and Eastern Kentucky to help develop the skills they need to seize their potential as the region’s next generation of business and entrepreneurial leaders.

Rogers Scholars, an intensive one-week summer leadership program, is open to high school sophomores in 45 Kentucky counties within The Center for Rural Development’s primary service area.

The program is provided at no cost to students and is supported solely through fundraising and donations.

To learn more about how you can support Rogers Scholars or to make a tax-deductible donation, visit www.centeryouthprograms.com, contact Allison Cross at across@centertech.com, or call 606-677-6019.