In 2016, a friend messaged me on Facebook asking if I knew any college juniors or seniors that would like to apply for internships at the Virginia Arts Festival, one of Virginia’s leading performing arts presenters. I, an overly eager college sophomore, jumped at the opportunity. After gaining further information and awkwardly trying to backpedal, I realized there was no harm in applying. I was blessed to acquire the position, and as a result became fascinated with marketing and communications. Fast forward about two years, after two internships in the entertainment industry, I am currently a communications intern at NASA Langley Research Center. Having transitioned from the entertainment industry into the STEM field, I’ve learned that these very different environments share a range of similarities. From working with artists to working with engineers I have found that in every workplace, communication is the foundation of clarity, understanding and collaboration.
In my current role I support outreach and interdepartmental communication for the Fabrication Technology Development Branch (FTDB). This takes many forms which are determined by the audience and content. For outreach, organizational tours are the primary form of communication. Tours, which vary by age and number of attendees, act as educational events that cover the capabilities and projects in FTDB. For internal communication, I create Snapshots for the Engineering Directorate on behalf of FTDB. Snapshots are weekly updates that allow employees to follow the progress of major projects and feature their work or contributions.
To improve the accuracy and clarity of communication, I study the equipment in FTDB, manage the employee Snapshot database, and regularly speak with researchers to fact-check information concerning their projects. However, I’ve found that accurate, clear communication isn’t enough. Well-rounded communication should also be personable because people are interested in the employees behind the work. I’ve had the opportunity to orchestrate tours for employees, students and fellow interns. During the summer, I gave a tour to a group of NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars that taught me the value of well-rounded communication. I gave my rehearsed speech and included a little information about myself, a community college graduate. Later, one of their supervisors thanked me saying, “You helped them see themselves here.” The tour was well received, but not because it contained a lot of technical information. It was well received because of our commonality. That experience taught me that communication is the essence of human connection, and I am thankful every day that I have the opportunity to support communication here at NASA.
Jasmine Hopkins is a current student at Christopher Newport University, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing. She previously earned her Associate of Science in Business Administration from Tidewater Community College.