As I walked along that sandy beach listening to the wavescrash against the Virginia shore with the sun rising up ahead; I could not helpbut think “Wow! I am getting paid to walk along this beautiful beach with thelove of my life!” The “love of my life” being GROVER, Goddard’s remotelyoperated vehicle for exploration and research. This day we weretesting the GROVER’s track system which my team and I had poured our hearts andsouls into for the past several weeks preparing for this test at Wallops FlightFacility. I know describing a robot as “the love of my life” is a little silly butthis is how I have come to view all my work at Goddard. I love the work I do atGoddard and I hope to be doing this type of work for all my life.
Christine with her pride and joy GROVER.
However, my walk on the beach with GROVER is just a snapshotof the work and experiences I have had this summer. To be fair I should talkabout all “my loves”. Yeah, I get around (Center) a lot! As anintern in the Advanced Manufacturing Branch (Code 547) I am responsible forcoordinating the fabrication efforts for four different intern teams. Thisgives me a real education in how things “get done” at Goddard. I also had theopportunity to develop my skills in the area of mechanical design while workingas the mechanical design engineer on a project designing an eletrohydrodynamiccooling loop experiment for an upcoming parabolic test flight. This test flightis jokingly nicknamed “the vomit comet”. This has been a greatopportunity to gain practical design experience and in Code 547 style “bringingconcepts to flight”.
However, the people I was able to work with and learn fromthis summer are what have made this experience incredible! I am working withengineers who are doing exactly the job that I want to have one day. Thisexperience has given me great direction as I continue my studies at GeorgiaTech in the fall. My mentor, Mr. Matt Showalter has been able to observe mywork and any challenge I have faced and relate it directly to a lesson in thegrander scheme of how things work at Goddard. This summer I have really felt apart of Goddard’s team. “We are raising a village.” I have heard my mentor saythis phrase many times over my past two summers in the Advanced ManufacturingBranch. Mentors invest so much time and energy in their student interns.Employees at Goddard are always willing to help and truly want you to succeed.Our branch secretary, Carole Rehm and her husband Ken actually opened theirhome to me and one other intern for the summer. The supportiveemployees are what makes Goddard’s intern program great!
Christine in the Utah Desert at a Mars Society Camp.