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
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

High School NASA Intern Works with Artificial Intelligence.

Drina Shah standing in front of the Goddard Space Flight Center.
Drina Shah standing in front of the Goddard Space Flight Center.

Reach for the stars because you might just become one! Drina Shah has a fascination with space exploration and engineering. When high school came around, Shah got the opportunity to work on NASA’s CubeSat Launch Initiative Project. Out of six schools across the nation, she was one out of eight students from her school to become a finalist.

With her interest in space exploration and engineering, and now her accomplishment from high school, she sought out an internship with NASA whose values align greatly with hers.

Artificial Intelligence Project

Currently, Shah is a Senior at Mooresville High School in North Carolina and a former NASA virtual intern at the Goddard Space Flight Center. The project that Shah worked on during her internship was an Artificial Intelligence based science translator for the spread of hydrological information.

Dreams Do Come True

NASA’s mission of innovating for the benefit of humanity and inspiring the world through discovery, and its core values of safety, integrity, teamwork, excellence, and inclusion inspired Shah to work for NASA. This internship meant the world to her and ended up being the very first job that she has ever had.

“It really was a dream come true opportunity for me and I’m sure it will help propel my career and my interest in space, engineering, and artificial intelligence,” Shah said.

If you are looking for a dream opportunity, check out our website for more information. You can also feel free to check out other fascinating stories such as Nicholas Houghton, who has a dream of becoming an astronaut and became an intern with an exciting position.

Grace Pham/ NASA Johnson Space Center

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

Persistence is Key – Bianca Ortega

A former NASA intern at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, inside the NASA Center for Climate Simulation.
A former NASA intern at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, inside the NASA Center for Climate Simulation.

Commitment is the foundation of great accomplishments. With dreams to be a pilot, Bianca Ortega flew remote-controlled airplanes in the sky when she was younger. When high school came around, her dreams started to expand, and she instead started to program and send her work into space. It was her first physics class in high school that guided her to find a new purpose for a newer mindset. Ortega wanted her work to mean something and so her skills were put to the test.

Data Visualization and Machine Learning Involvement

“It is one thing to be great at something, but it is an entirely different thing to use that skill not for your own, but for the pursuit of knowledge.” Ortega said. Currently, Ortega is a Senior at Kean University in New Jersey. She is double majoring in Computational Science and Mathematics, and minoring in Applied Physics. Ortega is also a former NASA intern at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, where she worked on a project titled “Applications of Data Visualization and Machine Learning to HPC Logs.” Her project took place at NASA’s Center for Climate Simulation (NCCS). The NCCS uses supercomputers, the main one being called “Discover,” which examined and used machine learning and different data visualization techniques through recorded performance .

Ortega’s experiment was made possible with the use of The ELK (Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana) Stack. The NCCS and NASA rely heavily on Discover to tackle some of their most challenging computational projects for the Science Mission Directorate to date. The purpose of her project was to find ways to correct user error behavior and detect —or ideally, predict system failures before they can happen. With that goal, this project would allow NASA scientists the best experience while using NASA’s NCCS Supercomputers.

Hard Work Pays Off

Ortega says that this internship is “a testament that hard work does pay off.” She hopes that everyone knows that their story is different from anyone else. Ortega came from a long line of Puerto Rican women, and she never really saw a lot of Women in STEM growing up, so she felt alone. “For any and all the young women out there, just know that you are not and will never be alone,” Ortega said.

If you are looking to write your own story, check out our website for opportunities regarding internships and more! You can also read other cool and empowering stories such as Rama Diop, a former intern that contributed to laser welding in

Grace Pham/ NASA Johnson Space Center

 

 

 

Intern Contributes to Laser Welding in Space Advancements

A technician performs welding on the KAMAG spacecraft transporter, inside a facility at the crawler yard at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Welding is being performed on the attach points that will hold the Orion transportation pallet in place (NASA/Ben Smegelsky).
A technician performs welding on the KAMAG spacecraft transporter, inside a facility at the crawler yard at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Welding is being performed on the attach points that will hold the Orion transportation pallet in place (NASA/Ben Smegelsky).

Trying out something can lead to a new passion. Rama Diop was encouraged by her chemistry teacher during her junior year of high school to apply for a welding engineering internship at Ohio State University. At the time, Diop wasn’t sure what welding engineering entailed, but she decided to apply anyway. During her internship, Diop did hands-on work including sample preparation, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and developed etching procedures. The internship she was once unfamiliar with led to her majoring in welding engineering at Ohio State University.

Welding Engineering Experiences

Diop went on to be involved with several research projects with applications to nuclear, biomedical, and automotive industries. In one project, she examined the correlation between fracture toughness and impact toughness of several grades of steel. She’s also studied the reduction of solidification cracking in aluminum alloys. Recently, she worked on a joint program with the biomedical engineering department to mimic aspects of the bone remodeling process.

Currently, Diop is an intern in the Metal Processes and Manufacturing Branch at the Marshall Space Flight Center supporting the Laser Welding in Space project. Welding in space allows for repairing, manufacturing, and assembling parts. Diop’s project aims to revisit and further the exploration of technologies in space, as an in-space welding experiment has not been conducted since 1973 on Skylab, the first United States space station.

“It means a lot to have been able to come here and participate in this internship. I have always wanted to come here and participate in this internship, so when the opportunity presented itself, I was ecstatic. I have been able to network with a lot of people and learn more about NASA’s mission,” Diop said.

Internship Takeaways

Diop says an internship with NASA is a great way to see what her role could look like in the welding engineering industry, and she is excited to apply the skills she’s gained in her previous research projects. This session, Diop hopes to explore different applications of welding, experience research on a larger scale, expand her coding ability, and branch into more computational modeling.

“I’m disappointed that my time here is coming to an end, but I have thoroughly enjoyed working here and am happy knowing that the work I have done will be used to help further the aims of this project,” Diop said.

If you’re looking to gain hands-on experience and valuable mentorship, check out our website for opportunities. Or continue reading inspiring stories such as Alex Suh, an intern researching the effects of spaceflight on the human body.

Carolina Rodriguez, STEM Engagement Communications Intern
Claire O’Shea, STEM Engagement Communications Intern, Editor
NASA Johnson Space Center

 

‘I’m Not Qualified,’ Intern’s Life Detour Towards her Dreams

 

‘There is no one road to get where you are going and there is no timeline. I am incredibly happy to use the life experiences I’ve learned on my detour to my internship.’ Susie Bennett interns at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after years of pursuing an entirely different career. (NASA/Susie Bennett).
‘There is no one road to get where you are going and there is no timeline. I am incredibly happy to use the life experiences I’ve learned on my detour to my internship.’ Susie Bennett interns at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center after years of pursuing an entirely different career. (NASA/Susie Bennett).

When going through life, our paths may seem linear, but that is far from the truth. For every choice we make, there are multiple options and paths presented to us. When given the opportunity, would you change your path? For Susie Bennett, a current intern at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, her path to an internship was far from linear. With a degree in business and a resume filled with retail management, the idea of ever working at NASA seemed like an out of reach prospect. Despite all of this, she never gave up on her dream of working in the space industry.
 

Rediscovering Past Interests

A common question we all get when going through school is “what do you want to be when you grow up?” While these answers are simply aspirations, they can make a big impact on your field of study. An aspiring doctor may take a bigger interest in biology, an aspiring painter may look more into the arts, or an aspiring engineer may look into welding courses. 

Bennett spent her years in grade school as a lover of space and science. She used her free time reading and watching the shuttles launch from a distance in her southwest Florida home. However, as she grew older, she struggled with the subjects she once was fond of and decided to put STEM behind her in favor of the arts and humanities. 

After obtaining a B.A. in Business Administration, Bennett worked in retail management for a decade. While she gained valuable experience in the industry, she felt that it was lacking the fulfillment she needed. One day, she decided to change all of that. 

A Major Life Change

Bennett enrolled in a biology program as a student researcher on two different projects. In the first, she worked on dissecting mosquitos and evaluating their microbiomes. In the second, she performed spectral analysis of yeast bio transformed compounds in beer. 

With her newly gained knowledge and confidence within the science field, Bennett started as a research and development scientist at a biotech company. Then she continued her journey as a brewery scientist and built a lab program from scratch. During this time, Bennett learned that NASA Internships were available for graduate students.  

With a childhood longing to work in the space industry as her motivator, she immediately went to apply. ‘I realized I was the only person standing in my way. I wasn’t going to stand in my way this time. I wanted to make elementary school me proud,’ Bennett said. 

Bennett’s Time at NASA 

Bennett accepted an offer as an Exploration Research and Technology Programs intern. She worked on a team who researched the unique stressors for biological life in a space environment using plants as the subject. While spaceflight experiments are not always possible due to time constraints and cost, ground-based equipment may be used to simulate the space environment. 

A Zinnia plant pillow floats through the U.S. Destiny Laboratory aboard the International Space Station. The challenging process of growing the zinnias provided an exceptional opportunity for scientists back on Earth to better understand how plants grow in microgravity. (NASA Johnson Space Center /International Space Station).
A Zinnia plant pillow floats through the U.S. Destiny Laboratory aboard the International Space Station. The challenging process of growing the zinnias provided an exceptional opportunity for scientists back on Earth to better understand how plants grow in microgravity. (NASA Johnson Space Center /International Space Station).

The team evaluated 40 scientific papers detailing the accuracy of machines stimulating gravity on earth. Data was compiled and reviewed for how closely simulated microgravity results compared to those obtained from experiments conducted in real microgravity. 

‘This internship signifies a major turning point in my life, not necessarily only on a professional level, but on a personal level. It signifies an end to the doubt I’ve let fill my head. It quieted the voice that spent too long telling me, ‘I’m not qualified.’ It marks the moment I realized I can do anything that I put my mind to, and it puts to bed the idea that there is only one path to success,’ Bennet said. 

Take the leap and apply for an internship. Start your application on our website or read more stories about the paths to working for NASA. Want to prepare for your internship? Read about the six habits of successful interns at NASA. 

Carolina Rodriguez, STEM Engagement Communications Intern
Claire O’Shea, STEM Engagement Communications Intern, Editor
NASA Johnson Space Center 

 

Student’s Shift in Career Aspirations Leads to Internship

Monica Saraf is currently working on the SCaN NASA Cloud Architecture. She is an advocate for women in technology and studies cybersecurity at Purdue University. 
Monica Saraf is currently working on the SCaN NASA Cloud Architecture. She is an advocate for women in technology and studies cybersecurity at Purdue University.

‘As a four-year-old, Monica Saraf repeatedly played the ‘Big Space Shuttle’ DVD that her parents had gifted her. As she watched, her interest in space grew. Monica learned about the heat capacity and assembly of tiles on a shuttle, the NASA Neutral Buoyancy Lab, and the women who have ventured to space. 

‘I lost track of the number of times I watched it. It all fascinated me to the point that I made the decision: I was going to become an astronaut one day,’ Saraf said. 

Throughout her elementary years, Saraf daydreamed about becoming an astronaut. She even attended camp at the NASA Kennedy Space Center. 

Cybersecurity

Despite quickly declaring her dream role, as she grew older, Saraf’s interests changed. There was a shift in focus from exploration to cybersecurity. While in middle school, Saraf participated in cybersecurity programs and competitions, fueling her new passion. 

In high school, Saraf discovered NASA’s cybersecurity internships, leading back to her previous passion for the agency’s work. With the help of mentors, Saraf applied and was accepted for her first internship. 

‘It’s an absolute honor and privilege to be working for an agency that puts not only its employees first, but also its interns. We’re here to help make a difference, and our mentors make sure we know that. Every one of us is given a project that can truly impact the agency, and the support necessary to do so,’ she said.

Blending Cybersecurity and NASA

Saraf decided to return to NASA every summer since her initial internship. She is interning with the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program for the fourth time. 

The SCaN Internship Project (SIP) allows students to perform hands-on training with real mission scenarios, analyze powerful space communication systems, utilize network software tools, and effectively communicate their findings in a final presentation to NASA management.  
The SCaN Internship Project (SIP) allows students to perform hands-on training with real mission scenarios, analyze powerful space communication systems, utilize network software tools, and effectively communicate their findings in a final presentation to NASA management.

‘It means a lot that I get to participate in an internship where I feel valued. Being someone who has dreamed of working at NASA for most of her life, my past NASA internship experiences do not disappoint. They have given me even more reason to continue to work hard in my field and learn as much as I can,’ she said. 

If you are looking to start exploring, visit our website for more information about internship opportunities available and qualification requirements. Need help getting ready for a NASA internship? Check out 10 Ways to Prepare for a NASA internship. 

Carolina Rodriguez, STEM Engagement Communications Intern
Claire O’Shea, STEM Engagement Communications Intern, Editor
NASA Johnson Space Center

Navajo Intern Engineer Hopes to Inspire Native American STEM Students

As an American Indian College Fund ambassador and a Navajo engineer, Nylana Murphy aims to demonstrate to native students that the ‘world is for [them].’ 

Murphy first gained interest in NASA while learning about internships during the American Indian Science Engineering Society (AISES) National Conference: ‘a three-day event focused on educational, professional, and workforce development for Indigenous peoples of North America and the Pacific Islands.’ 

Following the AISES conference, MAIANSE, which seeks to increase American Indian and Alaska Native engagement in STEM through authentic NASA experiences, helped Murphy with a summer internship offer. 

Murphy used her networking skills to secure two additional NASA internships in the additive manufacturing research lab at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.  

‘An internship isn’t just a job — it’s a foundation. A foundation built for one’s success. My internships have helped me get to where I am. Without the great opportunity of hands-on communication, I wouldn’t be in the direction of aerospace,’ Murphy said. 

While working on the additive manufacturing project, Murphy gained hands-on technical experience within a team at the agency. During her internship, she also used three-dimensional printing for Inconel 625 powder, which plays a significant role in aerospace utility tasks.  

Along with her part-time internship, Murphy juggled life as a full-time student at Navajo Technical University, pursuing her degree in mechanical engineering with a concentration in additive manufacturing. 

Murphy hopes to use her degree and skill set to continue exploration and to inspire more Native American students in the world of STEM and NASA. 

‘There is a career for everyone, where their dreams can become reality. With a focus on education and the help of other technologically inquisitive Native students, those dreams WILL become a reality,’ Murphy said. 

Do YOU want to be on the NASA team? Check out our website to find information on eligibility and application steps. Or, for more inspirational stories about our interns, such as Mallory Carbon, check out some of our other intern features on our blog.

Carolina Rodriguez, STEM Engagement Communications Intern
Claire O’Shea, STEM Engagement Communications Intern, Editor
NASA Johnson Space Center

Pride, Dreams, NASA- Mallory Carbon

Mallory Carbon
Mallory Carbon

Mallory Carbon has dreamed of working at NASA since her childhood. Today, she is a former three-time intern, current analyst, and celebrating her first pride month all with NASA. This pride month, Carbon teamed up with NASA to come out to the world as a queer woman and offer a message of hope for those in the LGBTQ+ community. 

Courage and Pride

For Carbon, #PrideMonth serves not only as a celebration, but a time to educate others on LGBTQ+ history and call attention to the current challenges facing the community. 

‘Although we still have a long way to go, I can’t help but acknowledge that this is what progress looks like’ she said. Carbon hopes that members of the LGBTQ+ community can see those who have come forth this Pride Month as proof that queer people can dream big. 

‘Time and time again my experiences at NASA have shown me the value of showing up as your full self. Whether it was leading with my energetic and sparkly personality, sharing my experiences and love of the arts, or my identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, being myself has yet to lead me astray,’ Carbon said. 

As a matter of fact, it has opened more opportunities than she could have ever imagined. She now has the ‘courage to share all the things that made [her] different.’ 

NASA recently published a four-minute long #PrideMonth video, ‘Together We Rise,’ featuring Carbon and other employees. 

The NASA Ames LGBTQ+ Advisory Group participated in the 2019 San Francisco Pride Parade as a part of an annual tradition. (NASA Ames Research Center).
The NASA Ames LGBTQ+ Advisory Group participated in the 2019 San Francisco Pride Parade as a part of an annual tradition. (NASA Ames Research Center).

Her Journey at NASA 

Carbon’s first STEM job was an internship with the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts team (NIAC) in the Space Technology Mission Doctorate (STMD). While with the NIAC team, Carbon says she enjoyed working on many projects including data analytics, public affairs, communication, and graphic design. 

Not only was Carbon a three-time intern with the NIAC team, but she was also involved with the NASA Promoting Agency Cross-Center Collaboration (PAXC), a student-run group meant to develop connections between interns across each center. At PAXC, Carbon was National Director and made history by leading alongside the first all-female national board.  

Currently, Carbon has fulfilled her goal of working at NASA as an analyst in the Strategic Investments Division (SID). 

The theme for the 2019 Houston Pride celebration was ‘The Summer of ’69,’ celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Space exploration and the importance of NASA to the Houston community was showcased throughout the festival and parade. (NASA Johnson Space Center).
The theme for the 2019 Houston Pride celebration was ‘The Summer of ’69,’ celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11. Space exploration and the importance of NASA to the Houston community was showcased throughout the festival and parade. (NASA Johnson Space Center).

This #PrideMonth, NASA celebrates the significant contributions of LGBTQ+ employees, respects their individuality, and recognizes their contributions to advance NASA’s priorities. 

We support the positive movement to promote self-affirmation, dignity, equal rights, build community and create awareness for diversity and gender variance. 

Despite the obstacles in achieving full acceptance and protections for the LGBTQ+ community, the progress made over the past decades has been significant, yet the work continues. Together we rise to achieve our goals as one. 

For more, check out the NASA LGBTQ+ Pride Gallery with stories from the community across NASA. Do you want to start your own internship journey at NASA? Visit our website for internship requirements and information about opportunities. 

 

Carolina Rodriguez/ NASA Johnson Space Center
Claire O’Shea/ NASA Johnson Space Center

 

All Within Reach, Proving It’s Possible- Brooke Alviar

Photo Credit- Brooke Alviar
Photo Credit- Brooke Alviar

For some, our inspiration and love for space came from staring at a starry night sky. Despite whether our views were impeded from the light pollution deep in the city, or it was full and brimming with unimpeded clarity, our minds would forever remember the child-like wonderment and emotions we felt. For many of our interns, this experience was much the same. Even for NASA Intern Brooke Alviar, who’s eyesight as a child was terrible, her dreams and aspirations to work at NASA came from admiring the stars.

Hopes and Dreams

At ten years old, her idea of working at NASA meant becoming an astronaut. While it felt out of reach, she held onto the idea. While she was in high school, her best friend’s mother was an engineer at NASA. Just knowing someone at NASA provided a big boost and the idea of just working at NASA became real and attainable. In college, Alviar applied for and received an internship position at Ames Research Center.

“When I finally had the honor of accepting an internship with NASA, I felt as though I myself was reaching the stars.”

Inspiration and Projects

When people think about NASA, they think of space exploration, science experiments in micro-gravity, or rocketry. However, NASA is more than that. For Alviar, when she took her first computer science class during her junior year of college, she understood more and more that innovations in space start on the ground with analytical thinkers and doers.

Currently, she works on a project that enables an optimized business process flow for procurement within NASA teams. She uses python skills and some UX/UI knowledge to develop an automated application which covered end-to-end tracking, approval, and notification of any item that was procured by a team or individual. This allows for improved documentation of an item’s whereabouts, greater transparency in the approval process for an item to be acquired by a team, and a time savings for those responsible for providing status updates for the item. Overall, it reduces the number of human touch points and increases the time savings for a lengthy business process.

How You Can Be a Part of NASA

Do the stars inspire you? Is there a part of you that looks above at the wonders and amazingness of the universe? Be a part of NASA as a NASA Intern! Visit our website for more information on current and future NASA Internship opportunities. Also, be sure to check out our NASA Internship blog. We have plenty of inspirational content posted there, as well as helpful articles, such as the best practices when applying for a NASA Internship.