The educational and career journey often looks different for those who chose military service. Meet three student veterans — Bryce Frase, Margarita Figueroa and Craig Plummer — who all served our country and are now preparing to graduate from UCF. Despite their different ages, careers, service branches and learning modalities, they’ve found a home and another path to success through UCF. The trio are among the more than 1,400 student veterans who call UCF home, leveraging the services offered by the Veterans Academic Resource Center and finding support and a sense of community with fellow student, faculty and staff veterans on campus.
Supporting Space Missions – Bryce Frase, U.S. Army
Bryce Frase can remember the exact moment he got the call from NASA.
Walking across campus in the spring of 2019 his mind was on his calculus exam when the phone rang.
Then came the news he had been selected for the Pathways Program, which provides students with the opportunity to explore federal careers while being paid for the work being performed. His assignment: Assist with the design and build of electrical equipment at the Kennedy Space Center’s Advanced Concepts Lab.
For the last two-and-half-years, Bryce has been working full-time as an electrical engineer while being a full-time student at UCF and a KSC Pathways intern. NASA’s highly selective Pathways Program has employed 47 UCF interns at KSC over the last five years.
“I had to stop, sit down and cry for a little bit,” Frase says.
The opportunity marked a turning point for the young Army veteran, who had dreamed of a career in space exploration ever since his grandmother surprised him with a telescope in elementary school. “It was the greatest thing in the world to see the moon, and the seas and craters,” recalls Frase.
But after high school, Frase wasn’t ready to follow his dreams of a career in outer space. The World Trade Center attacks had left a lasting impact on him as a child, and he knew his course would be to serve his country first.
He joined the U.S. Army in 2014, serving two years active duty and then four years in the reserves. A military police and correctional officer, he was deployed abroad for 14 months leading a team who handled high value detainees for U.S. government as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.
Starting as a student at UCF, Frase tapped the Veterans Academic Resource Center for support, receiving guidance on how to use the GI Bill and its benefits and spending hours at the center studying and doing homework.
Today, in his role at NASA, Frase supports the 3D Printing Center at KSC, aiding many space missions, including NASA’s Space Launch System, by printing and testing new parts and tools for the mission.
This month, he’ll receive an aerospace engineering degree at UCF. His courses have helped him become more proficient at his job, says Frase, who after graduation plans to stay on with NASA and continue his career in the space industry.
Other Student Veterans
Read about UCF’s other graduating student veterans in the original news story at the link below.