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.

Failure to Future: An Intern’s Journey to Success

Erica Kriner as a child, posing in front of an abstract art mural that consists of NASA, Apollo, and other space-related items.
Erica Kriner as a child, posing in front of an abstract art mural that consists of NASA, Apollo, and other space-related items.

“Failure is not an option.” Erica Kriner thought that this quote was a motto that she could live by. She then learned that the quote is a little misleading. “Failure is inevitable; what defines your character is what you do after it happens,” Kriner said. 

NASA Fellowship 

Erica Kriner recently graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geography with minors in Sustainability and Anthropology. She is also a former Audio Storytelling NASA intern with a Fellowship from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. Her primary duty as an intern was to help with scripting and producing NASA’s Curious Universe which is a podcast where she told stories about science and the people behind it at NASA. 

NASA Fellowships are competitive awards to support independently conceived or designed research, or senior design projects by highly qualified faculty, undergraduate, and graduate students, in disciplines needed to help advance NASA’s missions. This gives them the opportunity to directly contribute to advancements in STEM-related areas of study. The Fellowship opportunities are focused on innovation and generating measurable research results that contribute to NASA’s current and future science and technology goals. 

DEVELOP Program 

Kriner was also a part of NASA’s DEVELOP Program which conducts feasibility studies that bridge the gap between Earth science information and society. These projects help both participants and partners learn more about using geospatial information. Three times a year, participants apply through a competitive application process. Those selected conduct 10-week research projects in interdisciplinary teams of 4-5 people. They work closely with DEVELOP science advisors and mentors to apply Earth observations address to real-world problems. Through this process, participants build both research and science communication skills. These skills and project experience help set them up for success in the workforce. 

In Defeat, I am Defiant. 

It’s difficult for Kriner to put into words what it means not just to have this internship but even just to be at NASA. She feels like every decision she has made for her future has not just been for herself. 

Those decisions have been for her family: her mother, who raised her young and single, and who had to drop out of college and donate plasma every week just to pay the bills; her grandparents, who opened their home to them and who supported Erica unconditionally, even after she had to come home from college and was at her lowest point. “I’m not just building my legacy here; I’m also continuing their legacies of tenacity, compassion, and resilience. Everything I do is because of them and for them.” Kriner said. 

From the vantage point of hindsight, I can say with certainty that the moments that felt like failure were the moments that made this path possible. I wouldn’t be at NASA if it weren’t for those initial failures.” 

Succeed with NASA like Erica has and apply to be an intern at our website today! Also, feel free to check out Margarita Bassil, a NASA intern who also interpreted her mistakes as lessons to become successful at NASA. 

Lunar Soil: The Key to Breathing in Space- Shayla Wilhelm

Shayla Wilhelm standing in front of the Launch Crawler
Shayla Wilhelm standing in front of the Crawler Transporter.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Shayla Wilhelm saw the frothy sea of the Milky Way as she grew up in a small town in New York. Using a telescope, Wilhelm saw stars and planets shining everywhere across the sky. After realizing how much she loved what she saw in the sky, she ended up seeing a future in aerospace engineering. 

Oxygen in Space 

If astronauts on the moon can harness the oxygen under their feet, sustaining a human presence on the moon may not be so difficult after all,” Wilhelm said. Currently, Wilhelm is a junior at the Florida Institute of Technology where she is majoring in Aerospace Engineering. As a former NASA intern at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, she worked on the Molten Regolith Electrolysis (MRE) Project. 

The purpose of the MRE Project is to create oxygen on the Moon and to use it in astronaut tanks. By taking the soil on the Moon, Wilhelm would then melt it and run an electric current through it. This would split apart the metal oxides into molten metal and oxygen. After this process, the metal would then sink, allowing the oxygen to be separated, harvested, and eventually purified and distributed. 

This process is potentially an important step in setting up long-term research centers on the moon and beyond. 

Internship Takeaway 

As an intern, Wilhelm had a very hard time to describe an “average” day while at NASA. While she spent every single day differently, she is grateful that her days as an intern was always a unique experience. From staying in the lab and analyzing data, to working in the machine shop and getting her hands dirty, Wilhelm would always be excited and feel lucky enough to take on these new and innovative tasks every single day. Wilhelm also got the opportunity to expand upon her software skills, improve her technical writing, and more. 

Have you ever dreamed of working with NASA? Check out our website for more opportunities and information. Also, feel free to read more exciting stories such as Andrew Hoang, another former NASA intern who worked on parachute landings! 

Grace Pham/ NASA Johnson Space Center

Women’s History Month: The Impact of Mentorship

Women’s History Month is a time to highlight and celebrate the extraordinary women whose legacies empower women today in the pursuit of their dreams. 

Sofia Williams is a fourth year biomedical engineering student at the University of Texas and a NASA engineering pathways intern at Johnson Space Center.
Photo Credits: NASA, Sofia Williams

It wasn’t always this easy for women to learn STEM and be respected in this field, so I am eternally grateful to the women that paved the way for me to have a career at NASA,” Fourth Year Biomedical Engineering student Sofia Williams said.

Williams views this month of remembrance as a time to not only highlight the trailblazing women from the past who broke ground for females at NASA, but also reflect on the women at NASA today who are tirelessly working to mold the next generation. Throughout her time at NASA, Williams has met countless women who have helped shape her own development. However, the woman who Williams admires the most at NASA is her internship mentor, Brandale McMahan. 

 “Brandale is in charge of leading the xEMU suit tests and is a highly critical part of verifying that our suits will be ready for our upcoming Artemis missions,” Williams said. “Every day that I worked with her, I was in awe of how she commanded the tests and led our team with ease and grace. She has always welcomed me at NASA and made me feel like my voice was heard and skills were valued. I hope to one day lead teams and advance projects like Brandale does.”

 NASA internships provide an avenue for students to learn from professionals in their chosen field and to gain confidence in their own abilities. One of the key elements of NASA internships is the practice of mentorship. Mentors challenge interns in their projects while offering them instruction, encouragement, and support throughout their NASA journeys.

Sofia Williams holding a Space Shuttle EVA (Extravehicular Activity) glove used by NASA on Campus. Photo Credits: Sofia Williams

“Brandale has significantly influenced my decision to pursue a career at NASA because she helped me to believe that I am capable of being successful here. I was unsure of whether I belonged or could keep up, but after the lessons she taught me and guidance she offered, I know that I will go on to achieve great things.”

 Mentors instill self-confidence in their interns by assuring them that their contributions, skills, and perspectives are worth sharing. They play a key role in overcoming imposter syndrome and helping students discover their passions. These inspiring female mentors are not only making history through their own careers and contributions, but molding the next generation of women at NASA by providing direction and encouragement to students.

Sofia in an ISS Airlock Vacuum Chamber. These vacuum chambers are used to certify the suits and other hardware for space.
Photo Credits: Sofia Williams

“Being a female at NASA during the Artemis era is empowering and inspirational. For the first time in history, we are planning to send women farther than they have ever gone, and women are a part of the process every step of the way,” Williams said. “It is so inspiring to see what women can do when they come together at NASA for a common goal, and I feel so grateful to be a part of it. Having the opportunity to be mentored by such incredible women and work alongside them on projects has been one of my favorite parts of my time on the Artemis spacesuit team. I know young girls and women from all across the world will be watching history unfold during the Artemis missions and feel empowered to set their goals to the moon as well.”

Written by: Megan Hale