Kepler Scholarship Logo
15th Annual Kepler Scholarship
and Lectures Series Event

The Mt. San Antonio College Astronomy Department awards the Kepler Scholarships annually to outstanding students who have achieved academically, completed astronomy coursework and/or contributed toward the advancement of the college’s astronomy program.

"Dare Mighty Things: Mars Rovers
Paving the Way"


Nagin Cox
NASA Systems Engineer, JPL

April 27, 2024
5:00 p.m.

The Summit | Bldg. 410-3000
Nagin Cox

(2024) Nagin CoxTactical Mission Lead on the Curiosity Rover, as well as the Depuy Team Chief of the Mars2020 Perseverance Rover Engineering Team

Nagin Cox has been exploring since she decided as a teenager that she wanted to work at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. She was born in Bangalore, India, and grew up in Kansas City, Kansas, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Her experiences as a child in a Muslim household showed her how easily we separate ourselves based on gender, race or nationality, and it inspired her to do something that brings people together instead of dividing them. The Space Program helps the world "look up" and remember that we are one world. Thus, she has known from the time she was 14 years old that she wanted to work on missions of robotic space exploration.  

Cox realized her childhood dream and has been a spacecraft operations engineer at NASA/JPL for over 20 years. She has held leadership and system engineering positions on interplanetary robotic missions including the Galileo mission to Jupiter, the Mars Exploration Rovers, the Kepler exoplanet hunter, InSight and the Mars Curiosity Rover.

In 2015, Cox was honored as the namesake for Asteroid 14061 by its discovers. She has also received the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and two NASA Exceptional Achievement Medals. She is a U.S. Department of State STEM Speaker and has spoken to audiences around the world on the stories of the people behind the missions. She has also served on Cornell University’s President's Council for Cornell Women. She sits on the Advisory Committee of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch.

Before her time at JPL, Cox served for 6 years in the US Air Force including duty as a Space Operations Officer at NORAD/US Space Command. She holds engineering degrees from Cornell University and the Air Force Institute of Technology as well as a psychology degree from Cornell. (Sometimes she is not sure which one she uses more: the engineering degree or the psychology degree.)

Nagincox Website

Thank you to all Supporters of the Kepler Scholarship and the Earth & Space Science Grant

Dr. Manuel and Gloria Baca
Dr. Mark D. Boryta
Julie Bray-Ali
Bill Lambert
Dr. Robert Nelson
Larry L. Redinger
Dr. William and Lina Scroggins
James and Eleanor Randall
Joumana H. McGowan
Ray McMullen and the Kiwanis of Walnut Valley
Meghan Chen
Spence and Jean Lyon
Athena Martinez
Janet McMullin
Beta Meyer
SoCalGas Co./Bob Cruz
Puente Hills Toyota
United Imaging
Meteorite Exchange, Inc.
OPT The Telescope Authority
Sodexo Campus Services
Mt. SAC Office of the President
Mt. SAC Foundation
Mt. SAC Division of Natural Sciences
Mt. SAC Agricultural Sciences Department
Mt. SAC Arts Division
Mt. SAC Hospitality Program/Culinary Arts
Mt. SAC Kinesiology, Athletics & Dance Division
Mt. SAC Marketing and Communication
Mt. SAC Printing Services
Kepler Scholarship and Lecturer Dinner Contributors and Attendees


  • Kepler Scholarship and Distinguished Lecturer Committee

    Julie Bray-Ali, Chair
    Gloria Baca
    Dr. Manuel Baca
    Denise Bailey
    Dr. Mark Boryta
    Chef Shelley Doonan
    Jessica Draper
    Michael Hood
    Linda Lundgren
    Dr. Robert Nelson
    Larry Redinger
    Heather Rookhuyzen
    Jimmy Tamayo
    John Vitullo

  • Mt. SAC Board of Trustees

    Dr. Manuel Baca
    Jay F. Chen
    Judy Chen Haggerty, Esq.
    Gary Chow
    Peter Hidalgo
    Robert F. Hidalgo
    Laura L. Santos
    César Tlatoāni Alvarado, Student Trustee
    Dr. Martha Garcia, Mt. San Antonio College President/CEO