June 16, 2020

Century College alum Anthony Iovinella’s educational journey took him from PSEO to EMT training to Biology, Chemistry, Art, and to NASA workforce development programs.  He started at Century as a Post Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) student, taking art classes, while still in high school. 

Taking time off after graduation, he returned to Century for EMT training and certification. Eventually, he realized that the lifestyle was not for him.

An artist who excels at drawing and illustration,  Anthony decided on a new direction.  While in the EMT program, he realized that the science “clicked” with him, and this was an area in which he knew he would excel.  He then took classes in Biology and Chemistry.  Recognizing that everything begins with Chemistry. Anthony enjoyed following his passion for science, r

Faculty Nurture Intellectual Curiosity

“Erin Carter, from the Biology program, was an amazing teacher. She nurtured my intellectual curiosity—from the classroom to conversations.  David Luth King of the Writing Center was incredibly helpful. He assisted me with my resumes, cover letters, NASA applications and scholarship essays,” Anthony notes. “David Blackburn was a huge inspiration.  He is a teacher that truly made a difference in my academic career. He supported my questions both inside and outside of the classroom. He helped me with the more advanced chemistry concepts that my NASA programs were having me utilize. It’s teachers like this that make the difference by inspiring students to pursue their own passion.”

Science Research Opportunities with NASA

Erin Carter recommended that Anthony apply for NASA’s  Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program, which is designed to engage students in learning more about opportunities in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).  Anthony loved the program, “NCAS teaches you about the past, present, and future of NASA. You learn about all the areas of opportunities in science and engineering that NASA has to offer.” As part of the experience, he was flown out to the John Glenn Research Center in Ohio to meet and talk with NASA scientists and engineers.

Anthony was accepted in and participated in other NASA programs, such as L’SPACE.  L’SPACE consists of 3 semester-long sessions, including Mission Concepts Academy (MCA), NASA Proposal and Writing Evaluation Experience (NPWEE), and an L’SPACE ambassador internship.  Anthony also thrived with these challenges. “In MCA, my team designed a mission concept from the bottom up–from the descent and landing calculations to a lunar lander design. In the NPWEE program, I am the Principal Investigator of the technology proposal.”

“These programs are so important to understanding what science is, and you learn how to put everything in context,” notes Anthony.  “If you’re going into Science or Engineering, you definitely need to look into these opportunities.

Anthony would like to work for NASA in the future. “Being creative is a skill—whether drawing or painting or problem solving, and NASA definitely favors those with a creative side.” 

An Affordable Option

Anthony was able to graduate debt-free, thanks to low tuition and the availability of scholarships from the Century College Foundation.  He received the RMS Science Scholarship, enabling him to buy a laptop. “Century College is a great place to start. Affordability is a crucial factor when you’re taking classes and determining where your interests lie,”  Anthony says.  “It’s important to try for as many scholarships as you can.  It’s another opportunity, and many people don’t even try for them.”

He also worked as a Chemistry Lab Assistant with faculty member Scott Nieman, and helped prepare all solutions for the classes.  “It was fun,” Anthony remembers. “I got to know all the professors and loved working with them, often sitting in on their lessons, and also helping to tutor students.  At Century, you can make long-lasting connections with your teachers.”

Future Plans

Anthony graduated this spring with an AA in Chemistry, and he was also named a 2020 Century College Outstanding Student in that program.  He’s currently working as an intern at Advanced Research Corporation, a high-precision manufacturing business. 

He’ll continue his studies at the University of Minnesota College of Science and Engineering in the fall, where he’ll dual major in Chemistry and Chemical Engineering.  “I’m happy with my Century College experience,” Anthony says.  “Anyone who wants to go to college and isn’t sure which career direction to take, should go to Century.  You’ll find all the support you need. There’s a great library, great teachers and campus.  It’s a wonderful opportunity.”  

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