Introspection of an Intern

Former SEAP, NEAP, and SCIP Intern Joel Abraham graduated summa cum laude from South Harrison High School with a 4.0 un-weighted grade point average. He currently attends West Virginia Wesleyan College and is double majoring in Computer Information Science and Mathematics while pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree. Joel has also interned at the NASA IV&V Facility each summer since 2008. 

“Try for this, I know you can do it,” my teacher said as she handed me a piece of paper. Glancing down, I saw the words ‘Science and Engineering Apprenticeship Program.’ I politely took the paper and continued with my class work. Later that night my mom found the application on the floor beside my backpack with a slew of books strung around it.

“Do you realize what this is?” my mom asked holding up the paper. 

“Yeah, it’s an application I got at school today,” I replied.

“But do you realize what it is? It’s an application for an internship at the NASA IV&V Facility.”

I had no idea that this brief dialog would lead to five amazing summer internships with NASA’s IV&V Program.

Each summer, interns just like me, take on projects that give them the opportunity to develop their analytical and communication skills. Some of the challenging and diverse tasks I have been given have enabled me to polish these proficiencies by participating in hands-on projects, writing formal reports, and conducting various presentations. The unique internship programs offered at the NASA IV&V Program have provided me with remarkable opportunities to apply this knowledge while learning IV&V techniques, engineering principles, and office etiquette.

During the internship, each student is paired with a mentor. These mentors invest their time and efforts in order to help the interns succeed. Being able to work with many great mentors has been a blessing. Their support allowed me to work with NASA software and create tools to be used by the IV&V Program in the future! I’m not the only one who has reaped the benefits of this program. Students from north central West Virginia and, more recently, all over the United States have benefited from these programs, as well.

So, to all of those who have sacrificed their time and efforts to invest in the lives of young people, on behalf of all of the NASA IV&V interns, I would like to extend a very sincere thank you!For more information about NASA IV&V internships, please contact STEM Initiatives Lead Jess White at or visit this link.

Joel Abraham
IV&V Intern
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

OC Flight-1 Team at the State Fair

Steven Hard is the Project Manager for IV&V’s OC Flight-1 effort. He is also a member of the West Virginia University (WVU) Robotics Team in Morgantown, West Virginia.  

OC Flight-1 development team member Alan Didion and I went to the State Fair of West Virginia to join the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources (CEMR) booth set up within the West Virginia University building on the grounds. We represented WVU’s chapter of the Student Partnership for Cosmic Exploration (SPACE), which is a multi-disciplinary student group aimed at helping students get internships with NASA and broadening student awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) opportunities. Alan is the co-president of SPACE, whereas I’m just a member spreading the word.

We brought with us the WVU Mars Rover, which was built by the WVU Robotics Team and competed in the Mars RASC-AL RoboOps Challenge. We also brought both a mockup and a real version of the TubeSat flying on the OC Flight-1 mission. We talked about the results of the RoboOps competition, showed a demonstration of the mobility and manipulation capabilities of the WVU Mars Rover by turning in place, performing short arc-steering translations, and retrieving rocks with the robotic arm. The vision system was also displayed using a nearby Video Graphics Array (VGA) monitor. Discussions transitioned to the Space Flight Design Challenge concept and the OC Flight-1 mission as interest propagated across the display table.

This booth was a wonderful venue for getting the word out about our efforts. We all very much enjoyed the State Fair of West Virginia and hope that our message made an impression.

Steven Hard
Project Manager
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program