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Lindbergh High School student wins NASA “You've Got Perseverance” Award

December 9, 2022

Lindbergh High School junior Mehtap Akcaoglu is one of just 20 students nationwide to be named a NASA “You’ve Got Perseverance” Award honoree. As part of this honor, Mehtap participated in a video chat with members of NASA’s Perseverance rover team from mission control at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The video chat took place Tuesday, Dec. 6, at Lindbergh High School. In addition to the chat, Mehtap also received a special message sent directly from the Perseverance rover on Mars, and an award pack of materials with mission essentials.

Started in 2021, NASA’s "You've Got Perseverance!" opportunity is for students who have demonstrated perseverance in their academic pursuits, similar to the kind shown by members of the Perseverance team, to build, launch, and operate the mission on Mars. Teachers, educators, and community leaders are encouraged to nominate students who have shown that nothing will deter them from their educational journey. Mehtap was nominated in November by LHS Biology and Biomedical Science teacher Nora LaFata.

“She deserves this and so much more,” LaFata said. “So to realize that she was going to be given this opportunity that many others will never have, to actually talk and to ask questions to NASA engineers, it was just really exciting. I was excited for her.” 

Since immigrating to the United States from Turkey six years ago, Mehtap has adjusted to a new culture and overcome language barriers to become a leader and mentor to others in class. All while maintaining a rigorous course load, good grades, and a busy extracurricular schedule.

“Very amazing and humbling. It was an amazing opportunity,” Mehtap said. “I’m so grateful that I could experience it.”