NASA and NTC offer work in digital manufacturing

Aug 15th, 2012 | By | Category: 24-1: Communicating Yesterday's Stories Today, Tribal College News
By Daniel Vandever

Hidden in the crevices of a land as desolate as the celestial bodies that NASA often explores lies the institution that NASA turns to when it needs work in digital manufacturing. Since 2006, Navajo Technical College (NTC, Crownpoint, NM) has been working with NASA, offering internships to students interested in developing skills in the digital manufacturing field.

Students have been placed in internships at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL and NASA’s AMES Research Center in California. While it is important for students to expand their experience through outside internships, what is unique about this partnership is that students are now able to work on such projects from the familiar surroundings of NTC’s campus.

In 2010, NTC established the Center for Digital Technologies to provide unique educational experiences and economic opportunities for Native Americans in the engineering field, and, since that time, has been hosting such internships. The center houses its own laser scanning and rapid prototyping equipment—making it possible for students to work with cutting-edge digital technologies on Navajo land rather than traveling off the Navajo Nation for work.

NTC’s Center for Digital Technologies is positioned to become a major driving force for economic development for Native Americans using digital technologies. Now that NTC offers a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in digital manufacturing and a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial engineering, that development is bound for Crownpoint, NM.

For more information, contact Alice Carron, Director of the Center for Digital Technologies, at (505) 786-4163 or visit

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