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.
You asked, we answered! Today, we’re addressing common questions from our social media followers. Every year, NASA looks for members of the Artemis Generation to bring their talents and ideas to our internship program. We lead the world in space exploration and internships are an important part of our commitment to ensuring that the next generation will be ready for the challenges ahead.
Wondering if we have an internship for your major or what you might need in preparation to apply? This list is for you.
1. What type of internships are offered?
NASA offers opportunities for students to undertake meaningful and challenging projects. We have an internship for almost any major – from engineering and computer science to architecture and journalism, there’s something for everyone. Check the description and preferred major on individual opportunities for more details.
2. Does prior experience or coursework increase the likelihood of being selected?
Each internship experience is unique and will require different prerequisites. If you have not decided on your specialized major, you can still apply. Prior experience can span beyond educational experience – including extracurriculars and volunteer work that may apply to the potential role. Experience and previous coursework are both considered during the application review process.
3. If I am working or taking classes, could I still intern?
Yes. Working or taking classes does not disqualify you from becoming an intern. NASA offers part-time internships, which is an option for those looking to do both simultaneously. Once you’ve accepted an internship, talk to your coordinator or mentor about hours and scheduling if this is a path you are interested in pursuing.
4. Do I have to live by a NASA location to intern?
If you meet the qualifications, you can intern in person or virtually at any of the centers across the United States. This upcoming fall session, all interns must receive badges at a NASA center, including all virtual internships. In person, hybrid, and virtual interns will need to travel to a NASA center the first week of their internship to receive a badge in person.
5. My grades don’t reflect my passion and interest. Can I still be an intern?
If your grades meet our requirements, you are eligible to apply for an internship. If you do not meet the qualifications, there are a variety of options for ways to get involved at NASA.
Those enrolled in a United States college or university as an undergraduate can apply to L’SPACE, a 12-week academy that provides learning on the space industry. NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) offers three unique 5-week missions for 2-year community college students seeking a STEM degree. Collaborate with a scientist and make a discovery through a Citizen Science project is an option open to everyone around the world. Led by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, Artemis Student Challenges strengthen students’ skills for future mission planning and crewed space missions to other worlds. For more opportunities, visit NASA STEM Engagement.
6. How can I prepare if I don’t meet the age requirements?
7. Are there any intern projects working on missions that will be carried out within the year?
Yes, internship projects span across all areas of focus for the agency, including current high-profile missions. Currently we have interns working on Artemis, the mission that will land the first woman and person of color on the moon. There are also interns working on projects related to the James Webb Telescope, the most powerful telescope sent into space. Not only do interns work on future missions, but they also work on existing missions.
8. I’m in! What’s next?
As a NASA intern, you’ll join a community of diverse professionals who are united by a common purpose: to pioneer the future in space exploration, scientific discovery, and aeronautics research. Regardless of your career goals, a NASA internship will give you the kind of rewarding experience that makes a brilliant start for professional advancement.
What is an aspiration? According to Webster, an aspiration is the “strong desire to achieve something high or great.” While to some, there is nothing higher or greater than the stars. For Jetro Gallo, a Pathways Intern at NASA’s Johnson Space Center, his aspirations go even further by learning as much as he can now so that he can help others through eventual leadership and mentorship opportunities.
From the Beginning
Gallo’s professional background starts off in the Marine Corps. Serving as a platoon sergeant, he found that the most satisfying and fulfilling things was to give back to others. In one instance, he nominated a junior marine to receive a Navy and Marine Corps achievement medal. After going through the process, the nomination was accepted and approved and Gallo got the opportunity to present the medal at a ceremony. Gallo remembers the marine being stunned but thankful to see that he was recognized for his work.
Gallo’s path to NASA goes through the Pathways Internship program. This program offers a direct pipeline to full-time employment at NASA upon graduation. His first work rotation was in the ISS Procurement Office where he had a great amount of support from his mentors.
Once he becomes proficient at his job, he aspires to become the Manager or Deputy Manager of a whole office one. He believe these roles will satisfy a fulfillment in me to give back to others. During his time, he wants to develop a deep sense of understanding himself in terms of leadership and his abilities to provide ways to inspire, motivate, and propel the whole teams to move forward. This is all propelled by his drive to constantly find ways to continue growing, developing, and improving for the honor of serving the teams who look to him so that he can make sound judgments to propel NASA forward in all the agencies’ goals.
A Look Into the Future
So, what does the future hold? For starters, Gallo wants to fix the gap of students not thinking that they are capable. He also wants to help showcase their young minds so that they can achieve great things and spark their interest in the aerospace industry. Another aspiration of his is to establish a school in my birth country (Philippines). He would love to give back to birth country of the Philippines to inspire, motivate, and provide opportunities for the young citizens in his poverty-stricken province by assisting with their education.
How to Be a NASA Intern
What’s your aspirations? If you aspire to be a NASA Intern, check out our website for the requirements and application deadlines. For a head start, we created a piece on the 10 things you can do to prepare for a NASA Internship. Or check out our blog for more inspirational stories of all the amazing things our NASA Interns do.