Name: Alden Param
Hometown: Lake Forest, CA
College: Cal Poly Pomona, CA
Major: Electrical Engineering
Anticipated Graduation Date: Spring 2019
Why did you apply for the NASA Internship?
I had an internship last summer with Irvine Valley College and the California Space Grant Consortium working on a NASA project (PRANDTL-M at AFRC). This year, I applied to internships because I wanted to continue working on something similar. I applied to NASA internships all over the country, applying for specifics projects I would love to work on relating to the avionics/engineering field I want to work in. NASA IV&V had a project I was passionate about, and I took the opportunity right when I saw it despite having to travel to West Virginia for the internship.
What are you doing for NASA (brief summary of intern project)?
I worked on a project called DRACUS under the mentorship of Steven Hard. This project is a development of a multi-rotor UAV (otherwise known as quad-copter or drone) that will assist NASA IV&V in small scale hardware/software testing. The purpose is to develop different payloads to attach to the multi-rotor in order to do different types of aerial testing. NASA IV&V is primarily a software facility, and using a UAV platform such as this is a good step in implementing hardware knowledge and hands on testing into the program.
What do you like most about working for NASA?
Working for NASA has always been a dream for me, and it was awesome to be able to get a taste of what it would be like to work for them in the future. My mentors, other NASA IV&V employees, and fellow interns all made the experience an awesome one. Everyone around me was so passionate and goal driven and that rubbed off on me as well. Due to the environment and resources in NASA, I was able to accomplish work I didn’t think I was capable of. Lastly, my favorite thing about working with NASA this summer were the constant challenges I faced and overcame that helped me gain, hands on experience and develop as an engineer (all while having a great time of course).