Meet Shawna Martinez!

Hi, my name is Shawna Martinez and I am the graduate STEM Engagement Intern for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. In the photo below, you can see the GeoDome and the awesome Alejandro Colon (GeoDome Specialist), one of the most amazing educators, Tom Estill (Aerospace Education Specialist), and the very sweet and super smart STEM high school interns!


     Credit:  Becky Strauss.  Shawna, in the blue-green dress, stands with co-workers in front of the GeoDome.


The GeoDome presentation is amazing and it gives the visitors a chance to sit back, relax and look up at the beautiful images projected on the inside of the GeoDome. The technology of the GeoDome allows visitors to take a tour of the known universe, using software that is based on real data collected by NASA scientists.

This summer, I also presented the Infrared Camera presentation. My favorite line is, “Today you get to be NASA Scientists, NASA Technologists, NASA Engineers, and NASA Mathematicians!”  During the presentation, we use an infrared camera to help explain the difference between visible and invisible light. The infrared camera is a wonderful way to help the visitors learn about the type of technology that the James Webb Space Telescope will use. When the visitors get to see themselves in infrared, they are able to gain a better understanding of how the photos taken by the James Webb Space Telescope will capture temperature variances in our universe. While the Hubble Telescope is able to show us visible light, the James Webb Space Telescope will reveal the invisible!


I highly encourage anyone who has any interest in space and is in school to consider applying for a NASA internship. To be quite honest, I almost didn’t apply because I didn’t want to be away from home. I also didn’t think I would make it through the summer, because I was so homesick for my farm in Kentucky, but my mentors Carmel and Janie were so supportive. Then Bob showed me the plans for the Maryland Science, Exploration and Education Center (SEEC) at Goddard. When I saw the plans for the first time, it took me back to the many times my father would show us the building plans for the homes he helped build. That was the hook for me that made me want to be part of NASA beyond the initial internship. The SEEC is going to be absolutely amazing. The vision and hope of SEEC is what I want to be a part of.


As part of my STEM Engagement Internship, my mentor gave me the task of developing a rocket lesson for SEEC. Since then, I have been like a kid in a candy store meeting NASA scientists, engineers, technologists and mathematicians.  To help develop this lesson plan, where does Bob, the director of education, suggest I visit? A rocket launch!  In just a few days I will be heading to NASA Wallops Flight Facility to watch my very first launch. According to the Wallops web site, “The rocket will be carrying the inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiment-3 (IRVE-3) for the NASA Langley Research Center“.


I seriously am in heaven here. Guess where I was today. No, I was not on the NASA base. I was with NASA physicists and other awesome educators learning about physics at Six Flags riding roller coasters! How can you beat that? I’m learning from the most amazing people and I can say without any doubt:  I will never forget the summer that I was the STEM Engagement Intern at NASA Goddard!


-Shawna Martinez/STEM Engagement Intern/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center