Campus and Community

Powerlifting Team Co-Captain Earns Prestigious Summer Internship

ilian2UHD powerlifting team co-captain Ilian Rojas, a senior Noyce Scholar completing a double major in applied mathematics and statistics, has been selected for the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Teacher and Researcher Program (STAR) directed by California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo.

STAR is a nine-week summer research internship for aspiring K-12 science and mathematics teachers which provides them with opportunities to do authentic STEM research and helps them translate their research experience into classroom practice. Under the guidance of research mentors, STAR Fellows conduct cutting-edge research at laboratory facilities run by California State University, the U.S. Department of Defense, the U.S. Department of Energy, NASA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Science Foundation and the SETI Institute.  At the end of the summer, STAR Fellows present their research to the broader STAR community during a poster session at the STAR Closing Conference.

To supplement their research, STAR Fellows attend weekly three-hour education workshops which are co-taught by a master teacher and a faculty mentor with extensive experience in both K-12 STEM education and the credential process. In these workshops, STAR Fellows develop a deep understanding of the nature of research while becoming familiar with inquiry-based teaching strategies that align well with Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards.

Rojas has been assigned to the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory in Palmdale, California.

Rojas has served as a team co-captain for the UHD powerlifting team for several years and is the most senior of Coach John Hudson’s team captain corp.

“Ilian is truly a leader among leaders on the team in that he leads by his consistent example, first and foremost in the classroom by his outstanding academic achievement and performance, as well as in his own training and competition achievements,” Hudson said. “Ilian is an outstanding example of how the discipline acquired and honed through athletic participation transfers to the classroom and enhances academic success.”

Coach Hudson said he couldn’t be more proud of Rojas and his academic accomplishments.