TERRELL, Texas – Jet pilot, artist, engineer, rocket builder, entrepreneur; these are just a few of the dreams Perla Bautista, Terrell High School Junior, has for her life.

Passionate and goal oriented, Bautista is not afraid of a challenge and believes there is no limit to what she can achieve. Her talent and grit even caught the attention of NASA, landing Bautista a coveted spot in their High School Aerospace Scholars (HAS) program.

“I read about the program online and just applied,” Bautista said. “I knew it would be hard to get in, especially because I am female and it is usually a male dominated field, but I was excited to learn that I had been accepted.”

HAS is a unique NASA experience that begins with a 16-week online interactive course on NASA activities related to space exploration, Earth science, technology, mathematics, and aeronautics. The highest achieving students are invited to NASA for a six-day residential summer experience at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, where they work with NASA experts on designing a mission to Mars. Students are nominated by their state legislator and must be a Texas resident and U.S. citizen currently in their junior year of high school with an interest and aptitude for mathematics, science, engineering or computer science.

Bautista shared that just a few years ago, science was the furthest thing from her mind.

“During my freshman year when I was in Ms. Lassiter’s science class, I was not interested in science at all, in fact I didn’t see the purpose in needing to learn about it,” said Bautista. “The idea that through science I could create or build something that could help other people is what changed my view.”

Bautista credits Stephanie Lassiter as a teacher who has been influential in her journey with science, citing Lassiter as the teacher who helped her fill out and submit her application for the NASA program.

“When Perla came to me about the NASA program I was not surprised at all,” said Lassiter. “She is such a bright student; I know she can do whatever she sets her mind to.”

Bautista, who is also an officer of Key Club and enrolled in Dual Credit courses through Terrell High School and Trinity Valley Community College, says what excites her most about the program is being around other students who share her common interests in science, engineering and aerospace. She has her sights set on doing well throughout the program and being selected for the on-site program this summer.

Congratulations Perla on this tremendous accomplishment. Your Tiger family applauds your efforts and looks forward to your future success.