ColombiaOne.comColombia newsFrom a Colombian Village to NASA, on a Scholarship

From a Colombian Village to NASA, on a Scholarship


Space Center Houston, the visitor center of the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Credit: Tony Webster / Public Domain

In the heart of Chinchina, Caldas, one of the most important coffee-producing regions in the country, a Colombian student has realized a technological feat unprecedented in the municipality. Valentina Acevedo, a 16-year-old student, dreams of being Caldas’ first NASA astronaut. She is one of two winners who are headed to NASA’s Space Center in Houston, Texas on a one-week scholarship. 

Valentina will graduate from high school at the Santa Teresita Educational Institution. She participated in a contest with 1,800 other Colombian students for a scholarship from the foundation She’s an Astronaut. It was a virtual contest in which two girls would be chosen to go to the NASA facility. 

Out of the 1.800 contestants, 100 girls moved on to the second phase, and out of the ones who made it to the second round, Valentina was one of the top 2. 

The contest’s objective was to present a project to NASA. Valentina decided to propose an inclusive communication system for deaf people called Audiseñal (Audiosignal). It comprises a necklace and an integrated camera that works with AI. 

What was the project that took this Colombian Student to NASA?

The device allows deaf individuals who are speaking through sign language to get their voices traduced to speak in real-time. 

In an interview with the local newspaper El Tiempo, Valentina stated that she “…. identified a problem with deaf people in my town, mainly because they are starting to be included in the workforce. They need to have a way to communicate in a more effective manner with other people.” she concluded. 

The reward for this brilliant Colombian student was a scholarship for academic immersion at NASA’s Space Center in Houston, Texas. Valentina, alongside the other winners, will be able to spend a week there; she will have the opportunity to present her projects, study, and learn about the projects being developed at the site where NASA launches its missions. 

Valentina, who is passionate about math and outer space, will attend the NASA site in August.

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