In Their Own Words: Asia Alexander’s Journey with NASA and the Women Who Illuminated the Way

As I embarked on my NASA journey, little did I know that the possibilities awaiting me were as vast as the cosmic expanse we strive to explore. The awe-inspiring space agency has become my workplace and a sanctuary where I find the courage to dream beyond the stars. It’s a safe space that fosters creativity and innovation, but what indeed elevates the experience is the remarkable presence of black women who have become beacons of inspiration in my orbit.

Within the agency’s confines, I discovered the transformative power of representation and the profound impact it has on one’s aspirations. The NASA 2040 project, a venture close to my heart, serves as a conduit for making the agency more inclusive and accepting. Every day, I am privileged to contribute to this visionary initiative, working towards a future where everyone, regardless of background, can reach for the stars with unwavering belief.

NASA intern Asia sits beside two NASA employees in professional attire at a conference. Below them, the carpet brandishes a NASA meatball logo. In addition, we see the names of NASA centers obscured behind them.
Alt Text: NASA intern Asia Alexander sits beside two NASA employees in professional attire as part of a panel. Below them, the carpet brandishes a NASA meatball logo. In addition, we see the names of different NASA centers on a banner obscured behind them. Photo Credit: NASA

In the heart of NASA’s administration suite, I serve as a communications intern for the NASA 2040 project, where the essence of progress and change pulsates through every task. The journey is not just about reaching a destination; it’s about paving the way for those who will follow. It’s about making NASA a place where dreams know no boundaries.

As I embarked on my NASA journey, the trailblazers before me cast a luminous path, a trajectory illuminated by Mae Jemison, who boldly ventured into space, allowing aspiring individuals like me to soar beyond earthly limitations. Amidst the stellar colleagues who inspire me daily, I am acutely aware that I stand on the shoulders of extraordinary black women whose presence has been a guiding light in my cosmic journey.

Astronaut Mae C. Jemison, STS-47 mission specialist, appears to be clicking her heels in zero-gravity in this 35mm frame photographed in the Science Module aboard the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Endeavour. Credit: NASA
Alt Text: Astronaut Mae C. Jemison, STS-47 mission specialist, appears to be clicking her heels in zero-gravity aboard the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Endeavour. She wears a cream colored NASA sweater and navy blue standard-issue astronaut pants. The background of the image is the interior of Spacelab. Photo Credit: NASA

Laurie Grindle, Clare Lucky, Faith McKie, Gerelle Dodson, and Vanessa Wyche stand as trailblazers in a historically underrepresented industry. Shattering glass ceilings and proving that the sky is not the limit, these phenomenal women have not only ascended through the ranks at NASA but have also become beacons of inspiration for those of us who follow in their footsteps.

Alt Text; NASA's Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche poses before the Neutral Buoyancy Lab. Wearing a dress, Wyche smiles in front of the large pool which astronauts train within. In the background a large facility includes hanging flags of member nations of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford
Alt Text: NASA’s Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche poses before the Neutral Buoyancy Lab. Wearing a dress, Wyche smiles in front of the large pool which astronauts train within. In the background a large facility includes hanging flags of member nations of the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/Bill Stafford

Mae Jemison’s historic journey into space broke barriers and opened new frontiers, carving a path through the cosmos that echoes with the spirit of ‘Because of Them I Can.’ Her legacy, intertwined with the triumphs of those like Grindle, Lucky, McKie, Dodson, and Wyche, is a testament to the indomitable human spirit and the infinite possibilities that await when we dare to dream.

I’m part of a journey inspired by trailblazers at NASA. Fueled by a desire for progress, NASA is more than a workplace; it’s where we paint a future celebrating diversity. The legacy of those before me propels me to envision NASA reflecting humanity’s rich tapestry, nurturing every dream. As torchbearers, we carry the lit torch of trailblazers, ensuring the legacy endures, evolving each day. With them, we reach for the stars, a testament to boundless potential.

Asia Alexander/NASA Headquarters

Decades in the Making: Intern’s Non-Traditional Path to NASA Internship

Since the inaugural space shuttle launch in 1981, former intern Mike Fogg has dreamt of working at NASA. Fogg has applied for NASA opportunities since the early 2000s. As Fogg increased his expertise, he continued to apply for internships, but felt that he was at a disadvantage for not having a space-related degree.

“I’ve wanted to work for NASA almost as long as I can remember. I think my first application with NASA was in 2001 or 2002, after I’d left school the first time, for a position for which I was wildly unqualified,” Fogg said.

Fogg returned to school in 2017 to receive a degree in space studies from American Military University. With some convincing from his mentor, he applied to multiple NASA intern positions and ultimately received an internship offer for a role at NASA Headquarters in summer 2023.

“The feeling of finally accepting a position with NASA after so long was one of the greatest senses of relief and excitement I’ve ever felt. The day I received the offer letter stands as one of the most memorable of my life,” Fogg said.

Alt Text: Mike Fogg poses in front of a sculpture of the NASA worm logo outside of NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. NASA is spelled out in large red and shiny block letters. Photo Credit: Mike Fogg
Alt Text: Mike Fogg poses in front of a sculpture of the NASA worm logo outside of NASA Headquarters in Washington D.C. NASA is spelled out in large red and shiny block letters. Photo Credit: Mike Fogg

Fogg refers to himself as a non-traditional student. Before receiving the internship, Fogg worked a variety of jobs, from computer systems analyst and project lead at the United States Patent & Trademark Office to technical editor for a forensic engineering firm.

“The ‘traditional’ path to NASA seems to be getting hired just after graduating college or out of the military, whereas I kind of had an entire career beforehand. It’s certainly not a traditional path to be having an internship in your late 40s,” Fogg said.

Fogg worked with NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate to update the TechPort website and related database. TechPort houses NASA’s active and complete technology projects. Fogg worked alongside his mentor, Jonathan Bowie.

Alt Text: Mike Fogg stands with his hands on his hips on the edge of the pool inside NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Within the large pool a replica of the International Space Station is visible beneath the water surface. Photo Credit: NASA
Alt Text: Mike Fogg stands with his hands on his hips on the edge of the pool inside NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. Within the large pool a replica of the International Space Station is visible beneath the water surface.
Photo Credit: NASA

“My mentor has been immensely supportive, not just of the work I’m doing as an intern, but of my attempts to pursue a career here at NASA,” Fogg said. “I have been taught a lot about the inner workings of NASA, its infrastructure, what NASA’s goals are, and how NASA is looking to the future of space exploration.”

Fogg encourages other non-traditional students to “keep trying. As much as you want it to, success is not going to come overnight. Also, you’ve probably got a healthy dose of imposter syndrome due to attempting to change careers later in life – be aware of that and know that you’re not alone in that. It’s never too late.”

Gracie Glover/NASA Headquarters

In Their Own Words: Trish Elliston’s Reflection on Her SkillBridge Experience at NASA

After a 25-year career in the military that spanned service in both the Navy and Coast Guard, I will be starting a second career at NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC), all thanks to the SkillBridge Program.

Former NASA skill bridge intern Trish Elliston take a selfie in NASA's Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. A large pool of water is visible in the background inside a massive hangar like building. Trish smiles at the camera wearing a light blue top with her hair pulled back. Credit: Trish Elliston
Alt Text: Former NASA SkillBridge intern Trish Elliston takes a selfie in NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory. A large pool of water is visible in the background inside a massive hangar-like building. Within the large pool a replica of the International Space Station is seen sitting at depth. Trish smiles at the camera wearing a teal top with her hair pulled back. Credit: Trish Elliston

The Department of Defense’s SkillBridge Program offers service members a glimpse in the civilian workforce, matching military training and skills with civilian careers, up to the last 180 days of military service.

For me personally, after living in the Houston area for a few years and having countless interactions with NASA employees, one common theme that always stuck with me was the level of gratitude and job satisfaction each of them had. The problem for me, as a retiring service member, was the jobs at NASA were few and far between—everyone wants to work at NASA. As my retirement date grew closer, I sent my resume to every company I could think of.

Alt text: Trish wearing an orange dress and her colleagues of the U.S. Coast Guard stand in a group photo in front of a wall with text: “U.S. Department of Homeland Security / United States Coast Guard / Sector Houston-Galveston” and three emblems of each agency respectively
Alt text: Trish wearing an orange dress and her colleagues of the U.S. Coast Guard stand in a group photo in front of a wall with text: “U.S. Department of Homeland Security / United States Coast Guard / Sector Houston-Galveston” and three emblems of each agency respectively. Credit: Trish Elliston

While I received interest from many companies and quite a few job offers, it was one email that changed my whole plan. The SkillBridge Coordinator from JSC, Mr. Albert Meza reached out to me, and told me he received my resume and would be happy to discuss NASA SkillBridge opportunities at the center. In addition to Albert’s full-time job at NASA, he advocates for service members by helping them find SkillBridge opportunities. Albert found an internship for me in the Protective Services Division. After discussing my options with family and friends, and after meeting with the incredible leadership of the Protective Services Division and hearing how well my skills in the military would fit the position, I seized the opportunity and formally accepted the SkillBridge internship at NASA.

During my internship I networked as much as possible and made every effort to learn as much as I could so that I could be better prepared to start my civilian career, whether at NASA or with another company. I worked hard and learned a lot, and when a job opportunity became available, I applied. I submitted my resume knowing there was no guarantee of selection. Later, I interviewed for the position and was offered the job.

After my SkillBridge internship ends, I will be transitioning to a permanent position as a civil servant, and I couldn’t be happier. Few days pass when my mind doesn’t return to something I learned while I was in the military, but I also learn something new every day at NASA, and the people I work with are absolutely some of the best I have ever met. For me, transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce has been an incredible experience.

Alt-text: NASA’s Johnson Space Center SkillBridge Coordinator, Mr. Albert Meza wearing a plaid dress shirt and Trish wearing a blue dress with a lanyard. The two are smiling and pictured left from right in a selfie in front of a brick building.
Alt-text: NASA’s Johnson Space Center SkillBridge Coordinator, Mr. Albert Meza wearing a plaid dress shirt and Trish wearing a blue dress with a lanyard. The two are smiling and pictured left from right in a selfie in front of a brick building. Credit: Trish Elliston

I could not have done it without SkillBridge, and without Albert and the leadership of the Protective Services Division. Making decisions, especially big life decisions like taking off the military uniform, can be stressful. SkillBridge made it easier for me by giving me the opportunity to network, and allowing me to develop a better understanding of my skills outside the military. Most importantly, it gave me the confidence and purpose in my own abilities. SkillBridge interns at NASA are treated like regular employees, and they get assigned actual and meaningful tasks which are critical to NASA missions.

I would encourage any service member to consider SkillBridge as an option when transitioning from the military to the civilian workforce. The SkillBridge program at NASA helped me find my passion and purpose after military retirement.

Trish Elliston/NASA’s Johnson Space Center
Editor: Heidi Pan/NASA Headquarters

Intern Blazes the Trail from Wildfire Data Science to Real-World Experience

Former intern Jenessa Stemke started studying fire science as an outdoor guide in her first year of college. Later, Stemke returned to school for a master’s program in environmental science in hopes of having a future career in fire. Stemke has injuries that made it unsafe for her to participate in the highly physical work environment, so she created her own path to fire science. Over the next few years, Stemke learned by accumulating various pieces of information that she found in her career or in classes.

Alt Text: Jenessa Stemke poses next to a map of potential fire control locations. She is wearing a gray shirt, face mask and headband. Credit: Bryce Foster
Alt Text: Jenessa Stemke poses next to a map of potential fire control locations. She is wearing a gray shirt, face mask and headband. Credit: Bryce Foster

“Somebody wrote the books I read, and somebody taught me about fire without realizing that they were,” Stemke said. “I compiled my knowledge from all these different sources and found people who were willing to take the time to teach me. I did my class research projects on fire behavior and built up my understanding of it from the ecological side.”

After being invited to a NASA Earth Science meeting connecting data scientists and fire stakeholders, Stemke discovered that she could pursue her goal of supporting fire communications while fulfilling her lifelong dream of working for NASA. Her application received and internship offer accepted, she took on her new role as a Wildland Fire Program Intern for NASA, where she combined her enthusiasm for fire ecology and appreciation for satellite imagery.

Alt Text: An 11-year-old Jenessa stands smiling next to former NASA astronaut Richard Searfoss at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Searfoss stands smiling beside Jenessa in his iconic blue astronaut flight suit. Credit: Delilah Stemke
Alt Text: An 11-year-old Jenessa stands smiling next to former NASA astronaut Richard Searfoss at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Searfoss stands smiling beside Jenessa in his iconic blue astronaut flight suit. Credit: Delilah Stemke

This is where she came up with the idea to interview individuals in fire science-related spaces to create a list of difficulties and opportunities in fire science while considering the perspectives of policies, funding, and societal influences.

“I was surprised to learn that only 10% of people in fire at NASA or The Tactical Fire Remote Sensing Advisory Committee (TFRSAC) had hands-on fire experience, so it became my mission to help bridge the fire and data science communities to inform meaningful change,” Stemke said.

Stemke credits NASA and her mentors, David Green, Jessica McCarthy, and Joanne Hall as key factors in her ability to work in this field. She is grateful for her experience at NASA and cites the culture drives “innovation, collaboration and a forward-thinking solution-oriented approach, keeping in mind past successes or lessons learned,” Stemke stated.

Alt Text: A female intern wearing a blue jacket and cream pants standing smiling next to the NASA Research Park sign at NASA Ames Research Center. Behind her is a statue of the retired space shuttle on a stand surrounded by trees and blue sky. Credit: Emily Gelbart
Alt Text: A female intern wearing a blue jacket and cream pants standing smiling next to the NASA Research Park sign at NASA Ames Research Center. Behind her is a statue of the retired space shuttle on a stand surrounded by trees and blue sky. Credit: Emily Gelbart

“At NASA, I was more than tolerated. I was respected, welcomed, and appreciated. As an individual with a disability, I experience the world differently than others, and it rarely feels safe to discuss, except with people who can relate,” Stemke said.

Gracie Glover/NASA Headquarters

Celebrating Out-Of-This-World NASA Mentorship

Every year, across the U.S., NASA welcomes over 2,000 interns into our workforce. Each of these interns is also given a mentor who serves a dual role as both a guide and supervisor as they start their careers.

Today, on #NationalMentoringDay we’re celebrating some of the incredible connections that our mentors have helped create by highlighting stories from current interns, past interns, and mentors alike. Below is a selection of out-of-this-world experiences shared by our workforce.

Erin Kisliuk | Former NASA Headquarters Intern & Intern Mentor

How did your mentor influence your career path?

Early on in my internship, my mentor tasked me to schedule interviews with people on our team to learn more about everyone and their roles. What I couldn’t have predicted was all the ways this task would aid in my future.

First, it gave me the confidence to cold call (actually, cold email) people that I didn’t know, which is intimidating. It also taught me about time management and scheduling. These are skills I’ve used time and time again during my career, but also while on the job hunt.

Secondly, it taught me about the depth and breadth of the types of roles that exist on teams at NASA. Before this exercise, I would always say I wanted to do “Space Communications” without realizing the nuances of website, events, outreach, social media, and public relations. Once I could differentiate these roles, I could also identify which parts of communications really made me tick.

Most importantly, it was the beginning of my professional network. Each new person I’d talk to would suggest someone else I should add to my list and I continued these interviews for the duration of my internship. These connections would eventually set me up in a way that would help me learn about and land roles at NASA throughout my career.

Alt Text: Former NASA intern and mentor Erin Kisliuk sits in an interviewing chair inside the film studio at NASA Headquarters. Erin wears business casual attire and smiles at the camera. In the foreground a large video camera records her. To the left of the foreground, a boom microphone hangs overhead. Credit: Erin Kisliuk
Alt Text: Former NASA intern and mentor Erin Kisliuk sits in an interviewing chair inside the film studio at NASA Headquarters. Erin wears business casual attire and smiles at the camera. In the foreground a large video camera records her. To the left of the foreground, a boom microphone hangs overhead. Credit: Erin Kisliuk

What was it like as a former intern becoming a mentor?

It really felt like a full-circle moment for me. I reflected on what made my internship exciting and valuable and wanted to pass that experience along to my interns. I want them to work hard and learn new skills, but I also want them to make friends and connect with other interns and people at NASA because that is the foundation of their professional network.

Mentoring interns was also my first management experience. Sometimes it feels odd to look at it that way, but it was my first time explaining and assigning a task and then following up on it to make sure my interns understood the assignment and were meeting milestones so that they could have a completed project that they could be proud of at the end of their session.

Mentoring is a win-win. The person being mentored is offered knowledge, experience, and companionship from the mentor. But mentors also grow by being able to connect with and learn from the incoming or future workforce. At NASA, we’re always trying to explore innovate, and educate. We can only get there by working together to pass along institutional knowledge and creating a workplace where people feel supported and open to learning and trying new things. To me, that’s what mentoring is all about.

Alt Text: Erin Kisliuk stands smiling wearing sunglasses and a shirt with kittens in spacesuits, below the spacesuits text reads "NASA Headquarters WAshington, DC". Standing in a tent on the National Mall she prepares to support the Apollo 50th anniversary event. Credit: Erin Kisliuk
Alt Text: Erin Kisliuk stands smiling wearing sunglasses and a shirt with kittens in spacesuits, below the spacesuits text reads “NASA Headquarters Washington, DC”. Standing in a tent on the National Mall she prepares to support the Apollo 50th Anniversary event. Credit: Erin Kisliuk

Angel Kumari | NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Intern

How have your mentors influenced your career path?

Mentors have been crucial in my career development, especially at NASA. My mentors, Wade Sisler, and Michelle Handleman always offer their unwavering support, invaluable guidance, a wealth of experience, and unceasing encouragement. My NASA mentors are instrumental in my professional journey by connecting me with a network of like-minded individuals, exposing me to diverse projects, and challenging me to take on more responsibilities.

Alt text: This image is a selfie of two individuals in front of a doorway. To the left is a woman with short black hair, vision glasses, a white shirt, and a black jacket. On the left is a man with white hair and a blue shirt. Both individuals are smiling. Credit: Angel Kumari
Alt text: This image is a selfie of two individuals in front of a doorway. To the left is Amgel Kumari, a woman with short black hair, vision glasses, a white shirt, and a black jacket. On the right is Wade Sisler, a man with white hair and a blue shirt. Both individuals are smiling. Credit: Angel Kumari

Why do you think mentors are important – in general, but also at NASA specifically?

Over the years, I have learned that mentorship is a two-way street. A mentee has to ask for help when they need it to receive the help. My wonderful mentors offer me their unique perspectives without forcing me to take one decision over the other. They are also supportive in letting me test new ideas while actively listening to my experiences. A good mentor will also hold you accountable and provide feedback on how you are performing which is essential. I am immensely fortunate to have exceptional mentors who continue to empower me to explore my career at NASA.

Alt text: This image is taken in the GSFC visitor center. To the left is Angel Kumari, a woman with short black hair, vision glasses, a white shirt, and a black jacket. To the right is Michelle Handleman, a woman with a black jacket and pink dotted dress. Behind them is a poster that reads “NASA Heliophysics. Credit: Angel Kumari
Alt text: This image is taken in the GSFC visitor center. To the left is Angel Kumari, a woman with short black hair, vision glasses, a white shirt, and a black jacket. To the right is Michelle Handleman, a woman with a black jacket and pink dotted dress. Behind them is a poster that reads “NASA Heliophysics”. Credit: Angel Kumari

Matt McDonnell | NASA’s Johnson Space Center Intern

How have your mentors influenced your career path?

Mentors have helped me define the path that I’d like to follow throughout my life. With their guidance, I’ve been able to plan my next moves and anticipate upcoming challenges while also leaving space to enjoy the moment! At NASA, internship mentors are excellent examples of great mentors. They’ve helped me connect my educational background to real-world experience, apply my knowledge to important problems, and find places where I can continue to grow, all while leaving space to look around and appreciate how insanely cool the work that we do really is.

Alt Text: Matthew McDonnell stands in a large hangar at NASA's Johnson Space Center. He wears a light-colored quarter-zip shirt and looks at the camera. In the background a large American flag hangs on the wall, the metallic structure of the hangar illuminated by large overhead lights. Near Matthew large rounded space capsules are visible. Credit: Matthew McDonnell
Alt Text: Matthew McDonnell stands in a large hangar at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. He wears a light-colored quarter-zip shirt and looks at the camera. In the background a large American flag hangs on the wall, the metallic structure of the hangar illuminated by large overhead lights. Near Matthew large rounded space capsules are visible. Credit: Matthew McDonnell

What do you think makes someone a great mentor?

I believe anyone can be a great mentor, but it lies in two main factors – experience and approachability. You have to know what you’re talking about to give proper advice, and it also helps if you’ve lived through the experience before. Mentors that I’ve had have years of experience in the fields that they assist me with. But on top of knowledge, you also have to be willing to share it. Great mentors are friendly, approachable, and eager to share their wisdom with you. The “I want to help you” attitude is really what strikes me as an excellent mentor.

Two NASA interns take a selfie together in the reflective visor of a spacesuit. The yellow hues of the visor tints the reflected image.
Two NASA interns take a selfie together in the reflective visor of a spacesuit. The yellow hues of the visor create a tint in the reflected image. Credit: Matthew McDonnell

Join us! Apply for a NASA Internship

Now that you’ve seen the behind-the-scenes out-of-the-world experiences that mentorship through a NASA internship offers, we hope you’ll consider becoming a NASA intern yourself — or, if you’re already part of the team, continuing your internship for an additional session. As a friendly reminder: our Summer 2024 OSTEM Internship applications close on February, 2. 2024.

Share Your Excitement: Announce Your NASA Internship With This Social Media Toolkit

This week nearly 450 high school, undergraduate, and graduate students across the United States began internships at NASA. From NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Science in New York, New York, our interns play a crucial role in supporting NASA’s vision to explore the secrets of the universe for the benefit of all.

To commemorate the first week of our Fall 2023 internship session, we’ve put together this social media toolkit to help interns celebrate their new jobs.

Graphics

Our graphic designers compiled a collection of visuals for you to use that pull inspiration from some of NASA’s most iconic recent recordings. Feel free to use them!

Accessibility

We encourage you to utilize the provided alt text (alternative text) to make the graphics as accessible as possible—after all, there is space for everyone at NASA.

Hashtags
Excited to share about NASA internships? Use our official hashtags (#NASAInterns and/or #ArtemisGeneration) for a chance to be amplified from our accounts.

  1. Aeronautics Testing – [1:1 Download Here] [16:9 Download Here]
Alt Text: A model aircraft is tested within an aeronautics testing chamber. The brightly colored image includes sharply contrasting reds and oranges upon dark blues. Text on the image reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship #NASAInterns.” Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: A model aircraft is tested within an aeronautics testing chamber. The brightly colored image includes sharply contrasting reds and oranges upon dark blues. Text on the image reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship #NASAInterns.” Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
  1. Artemis Program – [1:1 Download Here] [16:9 Download Here]
Alt Text: A compiled graphic of the metallic-white Orion spacecraft and orange-white Space Launch System with Earth’s Moon partially obscured by shadow in the background. Text on the image reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship #NASAInterns.” Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: A compiled graphic of the metallic-white Orion spacecraft and orange-white Space Launch System with Earth’s Moon partially obscured by shadow in the background. Text on the image reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship #NASAInterns.” Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
  1. Moon Video – [Download Here]
Alt Text: An animated .gif of the Moon with its shadow receding. As the Moon brightens, text on screen reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship.” The screen fades to black and text reads, “I am the #ArtemisGeneration” with the iconic red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo beside the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: An animated .gif of the Moon with its shadow receding. As the Moon brightens, text on screen reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship.” The screen fades to black and text reads, “I am the #ArtemisGeneration” with the iconic red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo beside the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
  1. Space Launch System Video – [Download Here]
Alt Text: An animated .gif of the Artemis I launch around the Moon. As the Space Launch System (SLS) lifts off the pad, text reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship.” As SLS reaches into the sky, it drowns out the screen in bright white flames. The screen fades to white and text reads, “I am the #ArtemisGeneration” with the iconic red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo beside the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: An animated .gif of the Artemis I launch around the Moon. As the Space Launch System (SLS) lifts off the pad, text reads, “I accepted a NASA Internship.” As SLS reaches into the sky, it drowns out the screen in bright white flames. The screen fades to white and text reads, “I am the #ArtemisGeneration” with the iconic red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo beside the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee

Social Media Ideas

Interested in using some of the visuals we’ve created but don’t know where to start? Consider posts on any of these topics.

  • What mission, project, or directorate will you be supporting?
  • What does this internship mean to you?
  • What has your first week at NASA been like?

The Many Routes to a NASA Internship

 

Looking to start your career at NASA as an intern but don’t know where to begin? NASA offers multiple paths to become a NASA intern, and many of them have unique opportunities and are  available to different types of students. We’ve put together this handy breakdown to help you get started with your application.

NASA OSTEM Internships

Alt Text: Two female interns wearing blue NASA flight suits stand smiling with their hands behind their backs. Behind them, a large multirotor aircraft sits idle on the runway. The distance clear blue sky makes up the top of the image. Credit: NASA/Angelique Herring
Alt Text: Two female interns wearing blue NASA flight suits stand smiling with their hands behind their backs. Behind them, a large multirotor aircraft sits idle on the runway. The distance clear blue sky makes up the top of the image. Credit: NASA/Angelique Herring

NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement (OSTEM) paid internships allow both high school and college-level students to contribute to agency projects under the guidance of a NASA mentor. With roles in nearly every mission at every center across the United States, these positions are the most popular and numerous of NASA’s internships.

NASA JPL Internships

Former NASA JPL intern and current NASA astronaut Jessia Watkins poses in the control room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Smiling and wearing her iconic blue astronaut flight suit a large projection of the Earth is seen in the background among computer screens. Credit: Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Former NASA JPL intern and current NASA astronaut Jessia Watkins poses in the control room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Watkins smiles and wears her iconic blue astronaut flight suit. A large projection of the Earth is seen in the background among computer screens. Credit: Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s internships put you right in the action with the scientists and engineers who’ve helped make JPL the leading center for robotic exploration of the solar system. With programs as varied as the places we explore, this internship offers opportunities across the STEM spectrum for undergrads, graduate students, post doctorate students, and faculty at NASA JPL in Pasadena, California.

NASA Pathways Internships

Former NASA intern Naia Butler-Craig works to assemble a CubeSat in her laboratory. Wearing clean room attire she pays close attention to different cabling while assembling the small cube shaped satellite. Credit: NASA/ Bridget Caswell
Former NASA intern Naia Butler-Craig works to assemble a CubeSat in her laboratory. Wearing cleanroom attire she pays close attention to different cabling while assembling the small cube-shaped satellite. Credit: NASA/ Bridget Caswell

The Pathways Internship Program was established to build out the future of the federal workforce. Specializing in multi-semester experiences, the Pathways Internship Program prepares you for a career at NASA and offers a direct pipeline to full-time employment at NASA upon graduation.

These highly competitive roles allow interns the opportunity to kickstart their career by transitioning their internship into a full-time role as a government employee after meeting the program’s requirements.

NASA Fellowships

Former NASA intern and current NASA technologist Nithin Abraham uses sterile gloves in a clean container environment study a simple sample in NASA’s Goddard Space Center’s laboratory. Wearing professional attire, she looks in focused while using a small tweezer like tool to interact with small science components. Credit: NASA/Pat Izzo
Former NASA intern and current NASA technologist Nithin Abraham uses sterile gloves in a clean container environment to study a simple sample in NASA’s Goddard Space Center’s laboratory. Wearing professional attire, she looks focused while using a small tweezer-like tool to interact with small science components. Credit: NASA/Pat Izzo

NASA Fellowships allow graduate-level students to pursue research projects in response to the agency’s current research priorities. Fellowship opportunities are focused on innovation and generate measurable research results that contribute to NASA’s current and future science and technology goals—these prestigious positions enhance graduate learning and development.

NASA SkillBridge Internships

Former U.S. Air Force Colonel select, and current NASA astronaut Raja Chari poses beside a NASA science aircraft on the runway. Wearing his iconic blue astronaut flight suit an American flag patch stands in sharp contrast on his left shoulder. In the background there are clear blue skies. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Former U.S. Air Force Colonel select, and current NASA astronaut Raja Chari poses beside a NASA science aircraft on the runway. Wearing his iconic blue astronaut flight suit an American flag patch is seen on his left shoulder. In the background there are clear blue skies. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Across the agency, veterans deliver subject matter expertise, years of on-the-job training, and advanced skills in everything from information technology to transportation logistics and from supply-chain management to public relations. Our SkillBridge program with the Department of Defense helps to transition veterans into NASA internships that they can later use to springboard to a full-time NASA position.

To search for SkillBridge roles, follow this link and search “NASA” in the keywords box.

NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS)

A group of NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars sit in the control room at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. Each of the scholars are at computer working a live simulation of a mission control. The diverse group of interns wear business casual attire. Credit: NASA
A group of NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars sits in the control room at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. Each of the scholars is at a computer working on a live simulation of mission control. The diverse group of interns wear business casual attire. Credit: NASA

NASA offers the Community College Aerospace Scholars program for community college students to get hands-on preparation for a NASA internship. Although not an internship program itself, students participating in an NCAS activity can expect to advance their capabilities in STEM, helping to prepare them for better representation and service in STEM fields. NCAS has three missions designed to challenge and build student knowledge and skills by focusing on NASA’s mission goals, collaboration, and career pathways.

International Internships

Three international NASA interns from the United Arab Emirates pose together outside of the large Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, located at the NASA Ames Research Center. Wearing business casual attire, the trio smile in front of the massive white building housing the wind tunnel. Credit: NASA / Eric James
Three international NASA interns from the United Arab Emirates pose together outside of the large Unitary Plan Wind Tunnel, located at the NASA Ames Research Center. Wearing business casual attire, the trio smiles in front of the massive white building housing the wind tunnel. Credit: NASA / Eric James

NASA seeks to better prepare all students to work in a global environment and on multicultural, international missions. NASA offers international internships through collaborations with our international partners. These roles offer work experience comparable to traditional NASA internships and align with NASA’s three annual internship sessions.

Do you have a question about NASA’s internships that wasn’t answered here? Send us an email and we’ll do our best to answer your question.

 

Celebrate NASA Internships With This Social Media Toolkit

National Intern Day is July 27! We’ve put together this social media toolkit to help you celebrate NASA internships this #NationalInternDay. Whether you’re an intern, former intern, intern mentor, or just work with some incredible NASA interns—this toolkit is for you!

Graphics

Our graphic designers compiled a collection of visuals for you to use that pull inspiration from some of NASA’s most iconic recent recordings. Feel free to use them!

Accessibility

We encourage you to utilize the provided alt text (alternative text) to make the graphics as accessible as possible—after all, there is space for everyone at NASA.

Hashtags
Excited to share about NASA internships? Use our official hashtags (#NASAInterns and/or #ArtemisGeneration) for a chance to be amplified from our accounts.

1. Artemis Launch – Download Here

Alt Text: NASA’s Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System ascends from its launch pad while overlaid text reads “There’s space for me at NASA”. As the massive rocket approaches the top of the screen its bright exhaust turns the entire screen white. Once the screen is white it transitions to an empty background with text stating “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: NASA’s Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System ascends from its launch pad while overlaid text reads “There’s space for me at NASA.” As the massive rocket approaches the top of the screen its bright exhaust turns the entire screen white. Once the screen is white it transitions to an empty background with text stating “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee

2. Saturn’s Rings – Download Here

Alt Text: Saturn and its rings with the Sun in the background. Overlaid text reads “There’s space for me at NASA”. As the graphic zooms out from Saturn an additional line below the original text states “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: Saturn and its rings with the Sun in the background. Overlaid text reads “There’s space for me at NASA.” As the graphic zooms out from Saturn an additional line below the original text states “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee

3. Earth Flare – Download Here

Alt Text: The Earth’s upper atmosphere at night as seen from the International Space Station, overlaid text reads “There’s space for me at NASA.” As the Space Station nears the Earth’s daylight side the Sun’s bright light drowns out the entire image in blue then white. Once the screen is white it transitions to an empty background with text stating “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee

4. Earth Orbit – Download Here

Alt Text: The Earth’s horizon during the day as recorded from the International Space Station, white wispy clouds, blue oceans, and light brown land are seen beyond the horizon with overlaid text stating “There’s space for me at NASA”. The original text fades away and is replaced with text reading “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee
Alt Text: The Earth’s horizon during the day as recorded from the International Space Station. White wispy clouds, blue oceans, and light brown land are seen beyond the horizon with overlaid text stating “There’s space for me at NASA.” The original text fades away and is replaced with text reading “Happy #NationalInternDay” with an animated red, white, and blue NASA meatball logo below the text. Credit: NASA/Greg Lee

Social Media Ideas

Interested in using some of the visuals we’ve created but don’t know where to start? Consider posts on any of these topics.

Current Intern

  • How has your NASA internship impacted you so far?
  • What is a favorite memory you’ve made during your internship?
  • Is there anything you are looking forward to during your internship?

Former Intern

  • How did your NASA internship change your life and/or career?
  • What was your internship experience like?
  • What piece of advice would you share with new interns?

Intern Mentor

  • What has it been like supporting interns?
  • How has working with interns affected you and/or your mission?
  • What have you learned from your interns?

Intern Colleague

  • How has working with interns affected you and/or your mission?
  • What advice, if any, do you have for interns?
  • What is a positive memory you have had with a NASA intern?

6 Ways to Celebrate National Intern Day with NASA

National Intern Day is celebrated annually to recognize and highlight the contributions of interns throughout different industries and fields of work. At every NASA center across the country, interns play a critical role in our mission success.

The work of interns at NASA reaches far and wide.  Whether they’re contributing to our social media presence, supporting an engineering project that will one day return humanity to the Moon, or even chronicling NASA’s rich history, our interns’ contributions make us proud.

Looking to join in the celebration this National Intern Day? Here are six ways for interns, mentors, and past interns to celebrate NASA internships.

1. Meet the NASA Administrator

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson poses in a selfie with a group of interns at an Intern Q&A session. Nelson wears a blue suit and the group of interns wear business casual attire. All are smiling. Credit: NASA/Bill Nelson
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson poses in a selfie with a group of interns at an Intern Q&A session. Nelson wears a blue suit and the group of interns wear business casual attire. All are smiling. Credit: NASA/Bill Nelson

The interns of today are the #ArtemisGeneration leaders of tomorrow.

Our interns had the chance to start celebrating National Intern Week early! We hosted a special Q&A session for our interns to meet and ask questions of Administrator Bill Nelson, Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy, and Associate Administrator Bob Cabana on Wednesday, July 19.

2. Use Our Celebration Toolkit

Former NASA intern Jasmine Hopkins poses to take a selfie with someone wearing an example space suit. The Spacesuit is bright white with a metallic reflective finish on its bubble-like visor, upon its chest the iconic meatball NASA logo is prominent. Jasmine is wearing a business professional dress and smiles at the camera. Credit: NASA/Mark Knopp
Former NASA intern Jasmine Hopkins poses to take a selfie with someone wearing an example space suit. The Spacesuit is bright white with a metallic reflective finish on its bubble-like visor, upon its chest the iconic meatball NASA logo is prominent. Jasmine is wearing a business professional dress and smiles at the camera. Credit: NASA/Mark Knopp

Are you loving your NASA internship experience? Were you a former intern who now works at NASA full-time? Have you mentored interns and enriched the lives of others?

Check out our Celebration Toolkit which will be released right here on our blog. It includes custom-made visuals you can use on social media in celebration of #NationalInternDay and to share how your NASA internship impacted your life and career.

3. Join Our AMA (Ask Me Anything)

A group of interns stands together smiling inside NASA’s Goddard Research Center’s multimedia studio. In the center of the image a highchair is elevated on a platform with a collection of interns standing around it. In the background a hexagonal decorative wallcovering has the iconic red NASA worm logo jutting out from it. The group of interns are all wearing business casual attire. Credit: NASA/Wade Sisler
A group of interns stands together smiling inside NASA’s Goddard Research Center’s multimedia studio. In the center of the image a highchair is elevated on a platform with a collection of interns standing around it. In the background a hexagonal decorative wallcovering has the iconic red NASA worm logo jutting out from it. The group of interns are all wearing business casual attire. Credit: NASA/Wade Sisler

“What’s it like being a NASA intern? What is the day-to-day of an intern at NASA? What are some of the coolest things interns get to see during their internship? How do you become a NASA intern?”

People have questions—we’ve got the answers! Join in our Reddit Ask Me Anything on r/NASA and r/Internships to have your questions answered live by current interns, former interns, and mentors.

4. Have a Networking and Career Guidance Discussion

Students and young professionals discuss their projects at the Earth Science Applications Showcase Wednesday, August 1, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in DC. Three interns and young professional in business attire speak to one another about their research. Besides them is a large poster with Earth data. In the background more interns and young professional speak. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

Now is a great time to ask your mentor for career advice! Build a sturdy foundation to launch your future career post-internship with networking skills and advice gained from a more experienced mentor. From “which NASA centers specialize in your field of study” to “what type of resume is best for applying for a full-time position after your internship concludes,” your mentor may just have the advice you’re looking for.

5. Share Your Internship Accomplishments

An intern wears an augmented reality headset outside while testing out the technology. In the background other interns use similar headsets in the large open and rocky area, it is dark outside. The intern at the center of the image gestures with their hand interacting with the AR interface which is only visible to them. Credit: NASA/James Blair
An intern wears an augmented reality headset outside while testing out the technology. In the background other interns use similar headsets in the large open and rocky area, it is dark outside. The intern at the center of the image gestures with their hand interacting with the AR interface which is only visible to them. Credit: NASA/James Blair

Did you help prepare plans for future cultivation of vegetables in space, design a new computer method to streamline a process supporting the Artemis Program, archive historical NASA documents, or maybe even create a collection of spicy space memes that the public was enamored with? Share your successes and accomplishments as a NASA intern with the world using #NASAIntern and #ArtemisGeneration.

6. Apply for a NASA Internship

Two NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars sit at a desk and work on projects on laptops sitting in front of them. The duo wears casual attire and have NASA lanyards on. In the background a display of a NASA spacesuit is out of focus. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz
Two NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars sit at a desk and work on projects on laptops sitting in front of them. The duo wears casual attire and have NASA lanyards on. In the background a display of a NASA spacesuit is out of focus. Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

Now that you’ve seen the behind-the-scenes fun of a NASA internship, we hope you’ll consider becoming a NASA intern yourself — or, if you’re already part of the team, continuing your internship for an additional session. As a friendly reminder: our Spring 2024 OSTEM Internship applications close on August, 31. 2023.