Space Station 20th Celebration: NASA Interns Put the ART in SMART

2020 has been an interesting time to be an intern. With NASA centers across the nation adapting to the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency’s interns were challenged to complete their rigorous intern tasks from home as telework interns.

With a focus on connecting these high achieving students to the NASA mission, NASA Internships partnered with the International Space Station Program to create a summer intern challenge to celebrate the 20th anniversary of human habitation aboard ISS.

NASA interns from each center were challenged to design a postcard to celebrate the anniversary. The submissions were then vetted by the Internship and ISS offices and the top 16 submissions faced off head-to-head in an Instagram bracket challenge reminiscent of the NCAA Sweet 16. Voting occurred from July 27-30, 2020 on the NASA Internships’ Instagram account.

When voting was complete, the top three designs were selected to be used in STEM on Station events across the nation for students grade K-12. Congratulations to the winners and see all of the amazing designs below. Happy 20 continuous years of life on the space station, ISS!

Submissions for this challenge were placed in a Sweet 16 bracket face-off.
First Place Winner

Center: NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
Title: “Still Reaching”

Credit: Bradley Arias, Sara Caudill, Eathan Devine, Ciera Knabe, Sarkis Mikaelian, Howard Peng, and Nathan Sam.

Participating AFRC Interns: Bradley Arias, Sara Caudill, Eathan Devine, Ciera Knabe, Sarkis Mikaelian, Howard Peng, and Nathan Sam.
Description: The title of this piece, “Still Reaching,” is a simple phrase that the Armstrong Flight Research Center (AFRC) team decided represents both the 20 years that the International Space Station (ISS) has been in orbit conducting scientific research and future aspirations in space exploration. To best represent the essence of humans in space, a first-person perspective was optimal. This postcard shows that it is not just the astronauts that have been in space, but the ideas and innovations of those back on Earth as well. With a first-person perspective, people looking at the postcard can visualize what it would be like to be in space themselves. To represent unity, the AFRC team decided that depicting multiple astronauts tethered to the ISS was the best approach, because it shows how the very concept of humans in space is supported by something that the whole world has come together to develop. In addition, since it is 20th anniversary of the ISS, the team incorporated the number 20 into the center of the image by using the tether as the “2” – representing the important role the ISS will play in achieving Mars exploration – and by using Mars as the “0” – a nod to the Artemis Generation which is the current goal for space research and expansion. Since the theme of the postcard was reaching towards the exploration of Mars, the astronaut is quite literally reaching out towards Mars. The AFRC team showcased the Lunar Gateway, a future spacecraft that will be permanently in lunar orbit to support future missions to the moon.

Second Place Winner

Center: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Title: “Highway to Heaven”

Credit: Adele Payman .

Participating JPL Intern: Adele Payman.
Description: A vision of the future. Three astronauts are taking a spacewalk. They pause to admire the view: space taxis shuttle passengers to and from the lunar gateway; a Mars resupply mission has launched from the Moon; Cassini’s successor is well on its way to Saturn. It’s another busy day in the era of celestial transit, on a ‘highway to heaven’ which the ISS helped pave. With this postcard, I wanted to showcase the ISS’s role over the past 20 years in facilitating the development of technologies and infrastructure for exploring the Moon, Mars, and beyond. I also wanted to recognize the countries involved in the ISS project (USA, Russia, Japan, Canada, and ESA member states), as well as some other nations which have sent astronauts to the station.

Third Place Winner

Center: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Title: “Through the Looking Glass”

Credit: Victoria Colthurst.

Participating JPL Intern: Victoria Colthurst.
Description: The astronauts are looking through the ISS window where the find the Moon to the left, representing where we’ve been and Mars out ahead, representing where we are going.

Congratulations to all of the amazing NASA interns for their submissions! Enjoy them all below.

#NASAMoonKit: Intern Edition

Students! What’s in Your #NASAMoonKit?

Steps are being taken to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon, and we asked our NASA interns: what would you pack for a trip to the Moon?  Here is what our #NASAinterns family have created!

Credit: Abel Morelos.

Name: Abel Morelos (Coordinator)
Center: Ames Research Center 
Description:
Coordinator pack to inspire the Artemis Generation!

Credit: Cassidy Matlock.

Name: Cassidy Matlock
Center: Johnson Space Center 
Description: 
Creativity + health on the Moon.

Credit: Courtney Golman.

Name: Courtney Golman
Center: Kennedy Space Center 
Description:
I included the essentials: hand sanitizer and mask, dry shampoo, and of course Ariana Grande perfume. I also included my favorite items for work: coffee, laptop, glasses, and notebook, as well as all my cameras to capture the out of this world views!

Credit: Don Richmon Caluya.

Name: Don Richmon Caluya
Center: Johnson Space Center 
Description:
From home, to deployment, to NASA, and now to the Moon!

Credit: Gabrielle Barone.

Name: Gabrielle Barone
Center: Headquarters 
Description:
I would bring books (I’ll bring as many as I can!), fuzzy socks, hair ties/hair clip (because if there’s zero gravity my hair will be going everywhere!), lemon iced tea mix (for water bottles), sleep mask, and a picture of a landmark at my college (also my hometown).

Credit: Jennifer Becerra.

Name: Jennifer Becerra (Coordinator)
Center: Johnson Space Center 
Description: 
Connected to fitness on the Moon.

Credit: Jeremy Trujillo.

Name: Jeremy Trujillo
Center: Johnson Space Center 
Description:
Imagine rock climbing in 16.6% Earth’s gravity! I’ll need all my gear for that, plus a few essentials…

Credit: Julia Lang.

Name: Julia Lang
Center: Goddard Space Flight Center 
Description:
I would bring a good book, a sketchbook/journal along with my drawing set, a cozy NASA sweatshirt, and my 10 week old kitten, Frannie!

Credit: Katherine Herrick.

Name: Katherine Herrick
Center: Johnson Space Center 
Description: 
Artemis in practice – the making of a Rocket Woman.

Credit: Mark Edwards.

Name: Mark Edwards
Center: Wallops Flight Facility  
Description:
If you’re on the moon you have to log your thought and what you see but it’s also a great time for some low gravity cardistry.

Credit: Shane Tolentino.

Name: Shane Tolentino
Center: Johnson Space Center  
Description: 
As an illustrator, most of the items in my moon kit are art related! I decided to bring a set of small markers, my favorite black marker, and my favorite ball point pen along with a small sketchbook. My phone was the next obvious item, as it holds all of my favorite e-books, music, and photos of my friends and family. I also decided to bring my lucky pocket knife, my favorite lip balm, and of course, a charger for both my phone and earbuds!

Credit: Ramona Barajas Villar and Dayana Contreras.

Name: Ramona Barajas Villar and Dayana Contreras
Center: Armstrong Flight Research Center
Description:
When traveling to the moon one must bring essentials.

Credit: Trevor Brownlow.

Name: Trevor Brownlow
Center: Stennis Space Center
Description:
By bringing mementos such as a vintage NASA astronaut toy, an Apollo 11 button pin, and various Artemis/SLS/Orion trinkets, I sought to balance historical appreciation with enthusiasm for new journeys. For entertainment, I have a portable tablet and two sets of playing cards. A notepad and journal are on hand for introspective moments. A chocolate chip energy bar and my favorite chocolate candies are also in my kit to enjoy. With a small photo of my dog Winnie and a toy turtle representing my town, I will carry symbols of home to the Moon. Astronaut Snoopy is also along for the ride!

Join the fun! We invite you, members of the Artemis Generation, to share your excitement by thinking about what you would pack for the Moon! What can’t you leave the planet without? Is it your camera? Your drawing pad? Or maybe your musical instrument? How would you organize everything you need for your next giant leap?

Show us what’s in your suitcase with the hashtag #NASAMoonKit! Learn more: https://www.nasa.gov/nasamoonkit.

Interested in NASA Internships? Learn more by visiting https://intern.nasa.gov/.

Timothy Denego: 5 Reasons to visit NASA at AISES

Summer 2019 intern, Timothy Denego, shares 5 reasons why students should visit NASA at AISES 2020.

Meet Timothy Denego, a summer 2020 intern in the Office of STEM Engagement at NASA’s Langley Research Center and business administration student at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas.  ⁣

Timothy’s journey and support has been invaluable by the connections he’s made with NASA’s people, student programs, and culture. As NASA attends many career events this fall, read 5 reasons why Timothy encourages #NativesinSTEM to visit NASA at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society’s (AISES) Conference this month from October 15-17, 2020.

5 Reasons to visit NASA at AISES by Timothy Denego:

Timothy Denego meets NASA engineer Orson John at AISES 2019.

1) Natives at NASA
Natives at NASA has been an integral part for me on pursuing an internship for them. A solidifying moment for me was during the AISES National Conference where I ran into Orson John by the escalators while I was exploring the conference center. We discussed everything from his journey to NASA to academic advice/suggestions.

2) Networking
Making connections is something I encourage students to do as much as they can. During my time at AISES 2019, I attended a couple different NASA panels that were held and gained valuable information about the Natives at NASA and NASA’s culture overall.

3) Opportunity
Being made aware of and exposed to all the information throughout my internship has been invaluable to my educational and professional goals. I’ve had conversations with other more knowledgeable people in their respective fields and have been motivated to potentially enter into a field in which NASA is currently looking into delving more in depth.

4) MAIANSE – Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) for American Indian and Alaska Native Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Engagement
This all wouldn’t have been possible without my initial networking connection I made with Caroline Montgomery, MAIANSE’s Communications Strategist, before even my first AISES conference, but at an AIHEC (American Indian Higher Education Consortium) National Conference in March 2019. I then met her again during my first AISES National Conference in October 2019, where I also met the majority of the Natives at NASA. The MAIANSE mission is something I’ve resonated with since I first learned of it and continue to want to contribute to them anyway I can.

5) Culture
The Culture at NASA is always something I’ve heard about and respected, but to actually intern for them and get firsthand experience as to how they treat all their employees regardless of position is something I’ll never forget. All the employees I met at the conference were all welcoming and all had a desire to answer any questions that students had.

We hope to see you at AISES 2020! Learn more where NASA will be this fall by visiting our fall 2020 career events. Learn more about student opportunities at nasa.gov/stem and internships at intern.nasa.gov.

National Intern Day 2020: LinkedIn Social Q&A Event

For National Intern Day 2020 on July 30, the internships team is answering your questions! Our call to action on LinkedIn gathered questions from the public on our internship programs. Below are Q&A for students interested in a NASA Internship!

Question: My daughter and son are 11 & 9 yr old and are interested in joining this program one day. What coaching and mentoring can you give for these tender minds to prepare for the big day? Subjects and electives to choose in their middle and high school?

NASA STEM Engagement’s website is a great resource for K-12 and Higher Education students and educators. Source: NASA STEM.

NASA Internships: Our NASA STEM Engagement is a great resource and starting point! STEM opportunities are available from K-12 to Higher Education. Make sure to follow NASA STEM on social media as well! Don’t forget to build upon soft skills and take on leadership opportunities. 

Question: How would a high school junior from Orlando apply for one of these internships? What are the requirements in terms of classes and grades – how are they picked? 

NASA Internships:  Our eligibility requirements include:

-US citizen
-16 years of age at time of applying
-3.0 GPA on a 4.0 scale
-Attend an accredited institution

Students apply to specific projects on intern.nasa.gov each session. Organizations within the agency will then select students who are the best fit for their project. We encourage you to visit our website to learn more!

Question: I’m looking to change careers and I am a current Masters GIS grad student. For someone in my position, should I be applying to technical internships or entry level positions?

Source: NASA Armstrong.

NASA Internships: You may be eligible to apply to all! When you visit intern.nasa.gov you can learn about NASA STEM Engagement’s internships program, Pathways Program, and Fellowships opportunities. Simultaneously, apply to USAJobs for NASA positions that may interest you! Check out these stories on Careers at NASA Armstrong and 10 Things You Can Be Doing Now to Prepare for a NASA Internship.  

Question: What are key items to include on a resume to increase chances of becoming a candidate for an internship position with NASA? 

Check out our fall 2019’s Virtual Career Fair on NASA STEM’s YouTube Channel. Source: NASA STEM.

NASA Internships: Students apply through intern.nasa.gov, where they tell us more about their education, skill set, experiences, and more. We encourage students to share with us relevant experience they may have associated to the project(s) to which they apply to! We encourage students to ask themselves: what do you want us to know about you? What makes you stand out among your peers? Check out our fall 2019 Virtual Career Fair for more information – be on the look out for a fall 2020 Virtual Career Fair as well! 

Question: How do you get an Internship if you are not a US Citizen?

NASA Internships: We have two opportunities you can check out! The first is our NASA International Internship Program, where only current countries participating with agreements are eligible. The second is NASA JPL’s Visiting Student Research Program, where visiting students have secured funding from third-party sponsors who are not associated with NASA or JPL funding sources. Learn more by visiting these programs directly. 

Question: We got a number of questions asking about what kinds of projects are available within physics, communications, and history projects!  

‘Preview Projects’ prior to applying. Source: NASA Internships.

NASA Internships: Projects vary at every center each session. Once you complete an application, you will be able to apply the available projects for the specified session. You can use filters to locate specific projects that meet your desired geographic location and skill sets. Projects include both STEM and non-STEM opportunities!

Want to get ahead? You can preview projects to see what’s currently available! Go to ‘Preview Projects,’ select the session you’re interested in, and search for title key words (i.e. aerospace, physics, history, communications, etc.).

Question: To the coordinators: What was it that made these interns stand out the most as candidates? Outside of academics, what characteristics were you most excited to see demonstrated?

NASA Internships: Our coordinators and mentors like to see a variety of skillsets, experience, and knowledge. This includes: how do you demonstrate leadership skills, problem-solving, and build upon teamwork? To further assist you, here are 10 Things You Can Do Now to Prepare for a NASA Internship. You can also learn more about what our #NASAinterns are saying by reading their blogs and stories 

Thank you for joining us this National Intern Day 2020! We look forward to your student application and encourage you to visit intern.nasa.gov to learn more. Follow us on social media to ensure you stay connect with NASA Internships: Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

NASA Internships Celebrates National Intern Day 2020 with Social Q&A Events

Have you ever wanted to ask a NASA intern how they got their internship? Do you want to ask intern coordinators for application tips? On Thursday, July 30th, you can!

NASA is celebrating National Intern Day 2020 with Social Q&A events on Reddit, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Our panelists will consist of interns, subject matter experts, and intern coordinators who will answer your questions!

National Intern Day 2020 Social Q&A Schedule:

Instagram: 11 am – 5 pm ET

@NASAinternships

Questions collected in advance via call to action Q&A sticker.

—–

Reddit AMA: 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm ET

https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/

Q&A will be live. Check back for Reddit link!

—–

LinkedIn: 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm ET

https://www.linkedin.com/company/nasa/

Questions collected via a NASA post. Check back on 7/30 to see your question answered!

—–

Twitter: 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm ET

@NASAInterns

Q&A will be live. Tag us and use #NASAinterns!

Learn more about NASA Internships: https://intern.nasa.gov/.

NASA Opens the Door for Multiple Projects

Meet Dayana Contreras, an AFRC intern for fall 2019 and spring 2020. Photo credit: NASA AFRC/ Lauren Hughes and Ken Ulbrich.

Hello world, my name is Dayana Contreras and I’m an AFRC intern. I started my first internship in the fall 2019. I was very surprised when I got the offer, I couldn’t believe it; I didn’t even drop my fall classes until the day after orientation. I kept thinking I would get to the gate and they were going to tell me it was all a big mistake. My dream of working for NASA had finally come true. Having the privilege to be able to come in the center and see the amazing things they did was a reward itself. I felt so small walking past all the aircraft, SOFIA is one of the most amazing airplanes I have ever witnessed.

Dayana works on the PRADTL-3c. Photo credit: NASA AFRC/ Lauren Hughes and Ken Ulbrich.

My first project was Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag (PRADTL-3c). I helped with the mass property testing, such as center of gravity and moment of inertia. I was also in charge of data collection and analysis using the mathematical models I created. I got the opportunity to do a lot of hands on testing. This was a great internship, and I got to bond with my teammates as well as my mentor, Oscar Murillo. I felt I got to know many people around the center and got to learn the dynamics as well. This center has a great small-town feel – everyone smiles and says hi to you and they are so willing to help and want to see you succeed, it is so welcoming.

My second internship was in the spring 2020. My project was working with National Aeronautics and Space Administration Design and Analysis of Rotorcraft (NDARC). Being the first intern assigned to this project gave me an insight on what this center is about – research. I learned to be patient and to work alone. It really gave the phrase slowly but surely a true meaning. I was very lucky to have had a great mentor, Jason Lechniak, by my side helping me get through the issues I encountered. I learned so much from him I am very grateful for the opportunity and trust he placed in me.

Dayana poses next to the PRADTL-3c wing. Photo credit: NASA AFRC/ Lauren Hughes and Ken Ulbrich.

My advice for future interns is to stay focused but have fun at the same time. Enjoy the internship and everything the center has to offer. Take classes, go to meetings and lunch and learn sessions. Attend talks and events. Get to know people; a smile can lead to a conversation. This center has so many things to offer and this is the opportunity of a lifetime, make the best of it! Remember you are not expected to know everything, but you are expected to do your best to try to figure out a solution to your problem.

Living the Dream at NASA

By Vanessa Rincon
International Education Week 2019 Edition

Meet Ty-Chris Beasley who is a college senior studying accounting at Langston University in Langston, OK.

As a kid growing up in the small town of Muskogee, Okla., I believed there were only two career options at NASA: be an astronaut or a rocket scientist. Neither of which an Okie from Muskogee would fit that mold, so I thought. But I was mistaken. Because here I am, a NASA intern and soon to be a full time employee.

NASA has allowed me to have fantastic mentors, support the future Artemis – to the moon — mission, and given me the opportunity to network with peers from all walks of life. Most importantly, NASA has given me the privilege to engage the community and inspire minority youth about STEM. I truly felt as if I was living the dream.

I am a recent graduate of Langston University, a Historically Black College in Oklahoma with bachelors in accounting and an associate’s in financial planning. Because of Langston University’s partnership with NASA, I made history in 2017 being the first student from Langston School of Business to receive an internship from NASA. During my tenure at Johnson Space Center in Houston, I have been able to complete five internship tours and work on a multitude of different projects. My projects have included everything from working with procurement (buying stuff) to now public engagement (taking the message to the community).

During my first internship, I worked in JSC’s Gilruth fitness center as a business management intern. For my second, I worked in the Chief Information Office (CIO) as the first ever business integrator helping support the CIO and Chief Financial Office. On my third, I worked in the Office of STEM Engagement working with the Houston Independent School District (HISD) working with underrepresented students and cultivating a stronger relationship between NASA and HISD. For my fourth, I had the honor to help coordinate special events for the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo lunar landing. I got to engage with millions of people from all over the world as I helped with our special events, promotions and, also, JSC internal celebrations. I was able to network with every organization and many public figures such as NASA legend Apollo 11 flight director Gene Kranz, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee and many others.

JSC intern Ty-Chris meets former NASA Flight Director Gene Kratz.

Presently, I’m an External Relations Office (ERO) intern, still in the office of STEM Engagement, continuing working with HISD to maintain and sustain the partnership our team built.  The partnership focuses on innovative educational methods and uses best practices that promote the advancement of knowledge and skills toward STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) careers, with a goal to help HISD increase the academic achievement rates in STEM. Our hope is to increase industry, university, and community partnerships which will support and enhance the aerospace themes in HISD.

I never imagined myself working in a STEM career field, but I understand the importance and need for STEM engagement, especially with students in underserved communities. I am a firm believer that what happens outside the gates of NASA reflects what goes on inside NASA. By engaging with the public, we can show people all the amazing things we have accomplished at NASA and will continue to do now and in the future — like returning to the Moon in 2024.

Ty-Chris is currently interning in JSC’s External Relations Office and Office of STEM Engagement.

My mission at HISD was to show students, especially students of color, that it’s possible to work at NASA and aerospace industries by offering them experiences and opportunities. One of the challenges I faced was finding different ways to relate STEM that would resonate with the students in terms they could understand. I met this challenge through multiple STEM days, including a virtual reality show of the International Space Station and by including other NASA interns, subject matter experts, and former astronauts.

Even though I’m not a rocket scientist or an astronaut, NASA has allowed an Okie from Muskogee to engage, connect, and inspire youth and to gain aerospace experience by helping students find passion in STEM.  I want future generations to know no matter what your background you have the ability to do amazing work for one of the most exciting organizations…NASA.

For me “living the dream” is not working at NASA, but helping improve the world one student at a time.

Are you interested in STEM engagement? Consider applying to a NASA internship! You can find Summer 2020 intern projects at intern.nasa.gov. The Summer 2020 application deadline is March 8, 2020. Start your intern journey today! #NASAinterns

One giant leap from football to NASA

By Vanessa Rincon
International Education Week 2019 Edition

Meet Callan Cranenburgh who is a master’s student majoring in aerospace engineering at the University of Sydney, Australia.

I have made many memories throughout my time as an intern at NASA, and these will stick with me forever. These have mainly come through the new friendships that I have developed here at NASA Ames. My mentor is truly my biggest inspiration at NASA. His adherence to continue working through difficulties is a brilliant quality, and although he is often inundated in work, he never even considered not helping me in any moment I had a question or required his assistance with something. This has inspired me to be accommodating to others and under no circumstances should I not have time to aid others in need.

At the 2014 WAFL Grand Final, Callan won a colts premiership with Swan Districts Football Club. Credit: Groc Photography.

Aspiring to become a professional Australian football player, I dedicated my life to performing the sport at the highest level I possibly could in Perth, Australia. I suffered an injury in 2016 whilst playing that fractured my skull and brought me a serious concussion, changing the way I thought about how I wanted to live my life. At this point, I enrolled in a Masters of Professional Aerospace Engineering in Sydney, Australia, and left my family and athletic aspirations.

Callan is an intern at Ames Research Center’s Fluid Mechanics Laboratory.

Currently, my role on my project is to conduct an analysis on the performance of a newly developed high-speed CMOS camera sensor purposed for Pressure-Sensitive Paint applications, otherwise known as an optical wind tunnel technique through which an image is captured and can be processed to harness the pressure distribution over the entire surface of the aircraft or spacecraft model captured by the frame. I test this camera in pressure calibration cells to identify its light-capturing capabilities at different partial pressures of oxygen. I also am involved in a wind tunnel test on the Common Research Model and structural tests on the Germanium windows in the Unitary wind tunnel that are used for infrared wave transfer.

Callan is an intern through NASA’s International Internship (I^2) Program, where Australia’s Victorian Space Science Education Center (VSSEC) is a current partner.

This internship has truly changed my life, and it has taught me that there is no impossible. It showed me that if you dedicate yourself to something, you can achieve the world, and that nothing is out of reach. Always believe in yourself and the others around you, and the rest will fall into place. The urge of wanting to know how things worked led me to become an engineer, which is something that I did not see myself as doing throughout the majority of my life while I was focused on athletic aspirations, but I find no regret whatsoever in what I have chosen to do, and am incredibly enthusiastic to see what the future holds for myself with NASA.  My advice to future interns is to Embrace the opportunity and work diligently. The privilege of working with experts at NASA is one that should not be taken for granted. Talk to everyone, ask questions and ultimately immerse yourself in the NASA family. The internship program will be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime so enjoy the journey and I hope you gain as much from it as I did.

Are you an international student? Consider learning more about the NASA International Internship program at https://www.nasa.gov/stem/international-internships-for-students.html. Visit intern.nasa.gov to learn more about other NASA internship programs. Start your intern journey today! #NASAinterns #InternationalEducationWeek

Working at NASA: An experience that creates your future

By Vanessa Rincon
National STEM Day 2019 Edition

Meet Pablo Antonio Ramirez Santiago who graduated with a double major degree in Public Relations & Advertising and Marketing Management from the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus.

My experience at NASA has truly been unique, shaping me into who I am and teaching me a variety of different things on a daily basis. Right now, I don’t really have a single project, as I’m helping with many of them. I currently work as a Spanish journalism, multimedia, and social media intern, helping with the Spanish science communications at NASA. This doesn’t just have to do with the translations of the different missions, but also the Live Shots programs and other projects that involve the Hispanic community.

Pablo is a three-time intern at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

This was not always easy for me. One of the biggest challenges throughout my three internships here at Goddard was being able to communicate in English, coming from a place where my first language was Spanish. Coming to Goddard, everything around me was in English, and it was my first time working in a place in which everything was in a completely different language. However, I was able to create content in Spanish, even though my relationships, communications, and interactions with other coworkers are completely based upon my knowledge of the English language. This was truly a goal for me, and it started out as a challenge, but I ended up working hard because of how I wanted to be able to communicate effectively in both languages.

Pablo and his mentor receive the Star Award in the Functional Services Division at GSFC for their project.

I began here by participating in the summer poster session, which is a project that is meant to expand NASA’s science communications in Spanish. This project was based upon research that my co-mentor, Maria-Jose, worked on in 2011, and throughout the summer of 2018, we worked on finding funding for this project. We were able to start a proposal that created a pilot project that helped centralize the NASA Spanish communications, and were able to focus on a business structure that was feasible enough to where we could find the money needed to fund it. At this point, my mentor and co-mentor worked closely with me, allowing for me to win the Star Award in the Functional Services Division here at Goddard, then allowing for the project to be approved in April of 2019. All of this eventually led up to me taking my fall internship, and I have continued to put effort into my projects to truly make things come true for me.

Pablo’s project entails expanding NASA’s science communications in Spanish.

One of the greatest things that I continue to learn from my mentor and co-mentor, as well as subject matter experts, is how communications are consistently evolving and being reinvented. These are people who are always open to help me and push for me to improve, and they show me that it is worth it to be perseverant on what I want to accomplish and obtain.

Visiting a NASA center for the first time when I was 11 years old, I felt that I would never be able to find a place here because of how my interests were not aligned neither with science nor with engineering. I quickly discovered in college that this was wrong, and that the company did match my professional interests, pushing for me to apply for my internship. Eventually, I was contacted about an opportunity in which the agency was seeking someone who spoke Spanish, and from that point onwards, I have worked to where I am currently in my third internship with NASA, hoping to someday work for NASA professionally. My advice to future interns is: Believe in yourself and try new experiences! Sometimes you are going to feel desperate because you don’t know where you fit. But these experiences help you discover what things you like the most and where you see yourself in the future.

Are you interested in STEM communication? Consider applying to a NASA internship! You can find Summer 2020 intern projects at intern.nasa.gov. The Summer 2020 application deadline is March 8, 2020. Start your intern journey today! #NASAinterns #NationalSTEMDay

From Drawing To Telling the Stories of Space

From a very young age, Tamsyn has enjoyed drawing the solar system.

I’ve always dreamed of becoming an astronaut. As a kid, I loved to make crayon drawings of the solar system. My pictures always had to be accurate: I never forgot the asteroid belt, Uranus’ tilted rings, and Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. I loved the thought of a huge, mysterious universe — to be honest, I still do.

But if I’m being really honest, the process of becoming a bona fide space cadet isn’t a journey that I was ever prepared for or even willing to take. I’m very nearsighted. I have a largely unacknowledged fear of heights. I don’t want to major in engineering, hard science, or math. I also can’t do a pull-up.

I still fantasize, though, about seeing spaceship Earth hanging alone against a backdrop of a darkness punctured delicately by stars. I wonder about what it would be like to let Martian dust slip through the fingers of my spacesuit glove. I think about leaving my footprints on the Moon.

Over a decade after I stopped using crayons, 16-year-old Tamsyn got a position working in the Zukin lab at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, NY. As part of a high school class, I’d complete a short-term experiment under the supervision of professional scientists and write a brief paper about it. Over the course of a summer, I removed mouse hippocampi and conducted Western blot analyses on those tiny slivers of brain tissue. What I found to be the best part of the entire experience, though, was writing about the cellular mechanisms behind neuronal death as a result of stroke. I wanted to advance the field (if ever so slightly), but more importantly, the public deserved to know the work being done to ultimately benefit humans.

My passion for science is only outdone by my urge to tell people about it. During my crayon solar system era, I used to proudly recite the names of the planets (going in order from closest to farthest from the Sun and defiantly including Pluto even past its demotion) to anyone who would listen. In the first weeks of my junior year of high school, I worked diligently on my neuroscience paper in the hopes that it’d resonate with my classmates. The next summer I worked again at a lab — the Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine — but now my job was to write about science full-time for the lab’s website. I was thrilled to reach a much larger audience than my classmates. By my senior year of high school, I knew what I wanted to do.

Tamsyn Brann is a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Science, Technology, and Society

I’m a rising junior at the University of Pennsylvania majoring in Science, Technology, and Society. I know that STS as a course of study sounds pretty vague, but I’m using that to my advantage: I can craft my specific focus as a writer by choosing classes where I could practice communicating science in an educational setting. I can tell you about the scientific legacy of Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection — if you genuinely want to hear about the potential Lamarckism of epigenetics and whether genes really are “selfish.” I could talk for hours about detecting biosignatures on exoplanets and what to do once we’ve found them. At school and outside, my encounters with science taught me intellectual fearlessness and a desire to question. When science is communicated, society can absorb the information and advance.

I look forward to focusing my future more specifically toward communicating the astronomy I’ve always loved, and at NASA Goddard, I can do exactly that. The opportunity to interview the very people behind cutting-edge space science is an enormous privilege. Writing about the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter brings me to the Moon (where I hope to see humankind walk in my lifetime, even if I can’t). I’ll visit Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids as I research the 2021 Lucy mission. I can soar past the boundaries of the solar system interviewing scientists specializing in exoplanets. Though being an astronaut may not be my calling, science storytelling is.

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