Intern Q&A: Georgette Ball and Samuel Talkington

Name: Georgette Ball
Home Town: Fairmont, W.Va.
High School Attended: Fairmont Senior High School
College: West Virginia University
Major: Industrial and Management Systems Engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I applied for a NASA internship because I have always been intrigued by government services and wanted to have this opportunity to broaden my knowledge. My goal is to pursue a government related engineering job and I believe NASA would be a great opportunity to gain experience and come closer to attaining that goal.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? I am working with the WV Space Public Outreach Team (SPOT) as a presentation developer. Programs such as SPOT are great organizations that reach out to younger generations and ignite interest in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) disciplines.
What do you like most about working for NASA? If I had to choose what I like most so far it would definitely be the people and culture here at NASA IV&V. I feel very welcomed here and everyone is so helpful.

IMG_1731Name: Samuel Takington
Home Town: Clarksburg, W.Va.
High School Attended: Notre Dame High School
Why you applied for a NASA internship? Applying for a NASA internship gave me the opportunity to practice my skills with science and computer programming, which continue to grow daily. I applied expecting a great opportunity to interact with individuals who you genuinely feel are contributing to the betterment of humanity’s scientific endeavors. It’s an excellent college reference, and it’s simply an awesome experience that I will remember for years to come.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)?  This Summer I am working with the Space Launch System rocket engines team. The SLS is the “next generation” of rocketry that will, when completed, be responsible for the next manned space missions based out of America. I am helping to ensure that the algorithms behind the engine itself are sound and correct by creating applications in Java to automatically validate the math. It’s thrilling to be part of such a large picture, and to be tangibly contributing to the safety of America’s next astronauts.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The atmosphere is fairly relaxed and suited to my personality. It’s nice to be surrounded by like-minded people who share a passion for science and other similar interests.




Intern Q&A: Cortney Mercer and Nick Ohi

Name: Cortney Mercer
Home Town: Morgantown, WV
High School Attended/College: University High School/West Virginia University in the fall of 2014, planning to study mechanical and aerospace engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I have always been interested in STEM fields and interested in space flight, I hope to work for NASA, another space organization or an underwater robotics company in the future. This opportunity just helps me reach for my goals!
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? I am working with the Robotics Capabilities Development (CD) here at NASA IV&V to build a test-bed as well as develop procedures to perform verification and validation on computer vision software. I will be working with other high school and college interns here at the facility, as well as the members of the Robotic CD team to test different computer vision algorithms, this will be useful in situations such as asteroid redirect and automated satellite repair.
What do you like most about working for NASA? I like working for NASA because it gives me the opportunity to talk to experienced people in a field that I am interested in, it gives me the opportunity to learn about my potential career.

Nick Ohi
Home Town: Morgantown, WV
High School Attended: Homeschooled
College Attending: West Virginia University
Semester/Year: Entering Senior Year / Finished Junior Year
Major: Dual Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I have always been very interested in space and everything STEM related. I would like to work for NASA or another organization involved in spaceflight for my career, so this opportunity allows me to gain experience pursuing that goal.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? My project is to work with the Robotics Capabilities Development (CD) team here at IV&V and develop a test-bed and document procedures for doing IV&V on robotic systems that involve computer vision. I will be working with other college and high school interns as well as member of the Robotics CD team test different computer vision algorithms in scenarios such as automated satellite repair and asteroid redirection.
What do you like most about working for NASA? Not only does this internship opportunity provide me with valuable experience towards my career goals, I really enjoy the work environment here at IV&V. Everyone, from the other interns to the permanent employees are all great people to work with.





Intern Q&A: Esha Halabe and Katie Warner

Esha Halabe
Home Town: Morgantown, West Virginia
High School Attended: Morgantown High School
College Attending: Cornell University, Ithaca, New York
Semester: 1st Semester Freshman
Major: Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I applied for a NASA internship to apply my learned textbook theory to real-world problems, to gain hands-on engineering practice in a professional work environment, and to explore various STEM fields.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Observatory relies on a robust Fault Management system. To verify and validate that system, I am helping the IV&V team generate a Database and Test Bed to analyze JWST’s many system and subsystem components. The goal of my project is to add to the overall assurance of the Fault Management system.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The best part about working for NASA is getting to be a part of such a hardworking and innovative team. We’re working toward developing groundbreaking systems and technology, and I’m learning something new every day.

Name: Katherine Warner
Home Town: Morgantown
High School Attended/College: University High School/currently enrolled at West Virginia University, studying electrical engineering. She is in her sophomore year.
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I wanted to learn more about NASA and the work it does, explore potential careers with the agency, and get some “real-world” experience to help find the best career for me.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? I am comparing the simulation environments that test/will test MPCVs like Orion, the one being launched in December, before they are launched to ensure everything runs as it should in every situation.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The atmosphere is so much more than what I expected- to be honest I did not expect much so I wouldn’t be too impressed or displeased- and I cannot wait to spend most of my summer around such great people learning from knowledgeable but approachable and personable mentors.




Intern Q&A: Katherine Reid and Joshua Hiett

Katherine Reid
Home Town:
Bridgeport, W.Va.
High School or College: Bridgeport High School
Why you applied for a NASA Internship? Since childhood, I have been fascinated with the study of space. One day I hope to have a career with NASA, and this internship was the perfect opportunity to begin that journey.
What are you doing for NASA? I am working with the Ground Systems Development and Operations team (GSDO) for the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). The GSDO program is the development effort that is aimed at upgrading a majority of the Kennedy Space Center Ground Systems to ensure that the center is ready to support future launches (both government and commercial) in the post-shuttle era.
What do you like most about working for NASA? It has given me a chance to work alongside professionals with experience in the field I want to pursue, aerospace engineering. I love the daily challenges and the opportunity to work with students who also share my passion for space exploration.

Joshua Hiett
Home Town: Bloomery, W.Va.
High School: Hampshire High School
Why you applied for a NASA internship? I applied to gain the opportunity to expand my educational horizon and to open a career pathway towards a job field that I am extremely interested in continuing for the remainder of my life.
What are you doing for NASA? I will be working to improve a 4 wheeled all-terrain surface rover platform, Rover-X, which was built in 2012. My job is to redesign Rover-X’s software architecture from a manual computer input system into a field testable system utilizing an Xbox gamming controller to control the rover’s basic motor and robotic arm manipulation capabilities, and develop a central control station for camera feedback.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The environment is what I like most about working for NASA. There are so many opportunities to get first-hand experience with a vast number of people and network. There is a high level of energy within the staff and other interns here and everyone is polite and helpful. I am also looking forward to the many challenges to come within my internship and overcoming them with the help of my mentor.



Intern Q&A: Dalton Okel and Laura Ullom

When the interns first arrived at NASA’s IV&V Program, we wanted to make sure that their experience here would be shared. We decided to pull together a few questions and asked the interns to give us the inside scoop on why they chose to apply at NASA. Here are a few of the results.

IMG_1772Name: Dalton Okel
Home Town: Fairmont, W.Va.
High School or College: Fairmont Senior High School and hopes to study aerospace engineering and computer science West Virginia University
Why you applied for a NASA internship? In previous years, I had been informed about the internship from previous interns Savannah Sims and Josh McPherson. When they described the projects they were working on to me, it interested me to look into the opportunity more. The projects they told me about were dealing with the fields of math and science, ranging from computer programming to robotics, which are my strongest fields in academics. After reading multiple descriptions of the projects offered for this summer internship I applied to as many of the projects as I could, because all of them intrigued me, hoping that I could possibly get the job.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)? In the project that I am working on, we are assessing the Space Network Ground Segment Sustainment (SGSS) requirements and design artifacts for coverage of fault management functions. We are using DOORS software requirements repository and design documents to identify fault scenarios and summarizing the system’s response capabilities. Our team is also researching legacy system failures and assessing the SGSS design for respective fault management capabilities.
What do you like most about working for NASA? The thing that I like most about working at NASA is the environment of people surrounding you. Although people are constantly working on projects and don’t have much time to communicate with each other, it seems that everyone working at the internship loves what they do. Also, the full time employees are very nice and courteous to the interns, which make us feel a lot more comfortable coming to work every day.

IMG_1793 Name: Laura Ullom
Hometown: Jane Lew, W.Va.
High School or College: Lewis County High School graduate who plans to study journalism at Cedarville University in the fall of 2014
Why did you apply for a NASA internship? I applied for an internship with NASA for mainly two reasons. (1) My first experience with NASA was good. (I went to one of those “Bring Your Kid to Work” days with my dad, had a blast, and to this day have a poster hanging in my bedroom of Expedition 8! (2) I became interested in technical writing (that’s pretty much taking complicated information and making it easy to understand). I wanted to see what it was like working in a real-life technical writing situation.
What are you doing for NASA? I am currently working on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Tool Analysis team as a technical writer. Basically, that means I am learning about what the brilliant analysts are working on and writing about, so other people can know too.
What do you like most about working for NASA? I think of all the things I like about working for NASA, the thing I like the most is seeing how all the people here are so passionate about the work they do. Everyone I’ve talked to is driven and excited to make a difference. The atmosphere motivates me to work hard, too!

Welcome to IV&V, Interns!

IMG_1776Summer at NASA’s IV&V Program is just another season for most employees, but for a few, it means working with a very promising group of college and high school interns. Some will be teaching their interns how to create applications in Java and some will be guiding them through Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) presentation development.

The high school interns represent high schools located all over West Virginia, while the college interns represent colleges located throughout the entire United States. The ten college interns here this summer represent the program’s 5th class of the 10-week long Summer College Internship Program (SCIP), and the fourteen high school interns are the program’s 19th class of the 8-week long NASA IV&V Engineering Apprenticeship Program (NEAP). Both internship programs provide professional work experience, exposure to IV&V efforts, and an opportunity to experience real engineering careers. All of our interns will present their summer efforts at IV&V, Goddard Space Flight Center, and NASA Headquarters.

College Interns

Nick Ohi – Mentor: Ricky Forquer
Trey Duckworth – Mentor: Rick Hess
Derek Hanely – Mentor: Jeremy Yagle
Thomas Alappat – Mentor: Ashley LeMasters
Josh Hiett – Mentor: Steven Hard
Josh McPherson – Mentor: Bill Elson
Katherine Warner – Mentor: Rickey Beamer
Jared Leggett – Mentor: Greg Black
Ashton Armstrong – Mentor: Justin Smith
Georgette Ball – Mentor: Justin Smith

High School Interns

Matthew Gramlich, Cortney Mercer and Jonathan Lister – Mentor: Ricky Forquer
Esha Halabe – Mentor: Ryan Starn
Laura Ullom – Mentor: Rick Hess
David Lituchy and Isaak Wolfe  – Mentor: Darilyn Dunkerley
Robert Hewitt and Vincent Spagnuolo – Mentor: Don Kranz
Katherine Reid and Wyatt Kitzmiller– Mentor: Ed Meek
Samuel Talkington – Mentor: Ross Blankley
John Forquer and Dalton Okel– Mentor: Joelle Spagnuolo-Loretta

Congratulations are due to these interns for being IV&V’s summer 2014 intern group. Also, thank you to the program for supporting these internship initiatives. Everyone at IV&V hopes you have a great experience.


Jess White
 Initiatives Lead
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program