2012 Careers in the Corridor Event

Jess White is the STEM Initiatives Lead at NASA’s IV&V Program. He is the current coordinator for the Careers in the Corridor event. 

NASA’s IV&V Program STEM Initiatives Office held the fourth annual Careers in the Corridor (CIC) exhibition on Friday November 30, 2012. The event showcased the variety of high tech careers available in West Virginia and featured a presentation by a former space shuttle astronaut and West Virginia native, Capt. Jon McBride.

The objective of CIC is to help sophomores, juniors and seniors imagine the future they can realize by studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Astronaut McBride spoke about his journey to become what is now West Virginia’s only astronaut. Afterwards, he joined the students on a tour of job fair exhibits staffed by NASA and other corporate and academic recruiters. 

Among the exhibitors there were West Virginia University’s Dr. Powsiri Klinkhachorn and a few members of his WVU Robotics Team. Along with them they brought the WVU Mars Rover, which was built by the WVU Robotics Team and competed in the MARS RASC-AL RoboOps Challenge. Although the robotics held the students’ interest, many of the other vendors had the opportunity to interact with the students one-on-one, which was something they felt was very important. 

“Careers in the Corridor is one of the best communication platforms I have seem for the promotion of NASA’s STEM initiatives and inspiring the next generation of West Virginians,” vendor and TASC Office Manager Bree Layton said. 

The vendors certainly weren’t the only ones who saw the benefit of this annual event. Cynthia Howell of Heritage Christian School stated that this event was very good for her students and that she hoped that their school can participate in future IV&V educational outreach opportunities. 

A big thanks to all of those who helped make this event happen. It was a great success and one that we hope to continue for many years to come. If you are interested in becoming a vendor for next year’s event, please contact STEM Initiatives Lead Jess White at jesse.e.white@nasa.gov or Bailee Morris at bailee.r.morris@ivv.nasa.gov.

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

IV&V's Independent Test Capability Team Competes in 2012 NASA Software of the Year

The IV&V Program’s Independent Test Capability team is chartered to acquire, develop and maintain simulation and test environments for NASA’s IV&V Program to enable dynamic analysis of NASA IV&V-supported projects. The team has worked with Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), International Space Station, Juno, Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle (MPCV), Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) and Goddard Mission Services Evolution Center (GMSEC). 

The IV&V Program’s Independent Test Capability team had the opportunity to compete in the 2012 NASA Software of the Year competition. The competition is sponsored by the NASA Chief Engineer, the NASA Chief Information Officer and the NASA Office of Safety and Mission Assurance. The purpose of the competition is to allow the agency to recognize and appreciate NASA’s team members who set high standards for significant software that is creative, usable, transferable and possesses inherent quality.

The competition requires that teams prepare and submit a significantly large packet of information detailing the characteristics of the software including commercialization potential, uniqueness and creativity, to name a few. In addition to the packet submission, each team prepares and gives a 30 minute presentation on the software. Initial submissions are evaluated at each respective NASA center and final submissions are evaluated by a software advisory panel, with representatives from across the agency. 

It was an honor for the Independent Test Capability team to be involved in this competition and to represent the IV&V Program and Goddard Space Flight Center. The team received honorable mention recognition and was the first submission from the IV&V Program. Thank you to everyone that supported the submission and especially those who provided peer reviews and letters of support. The team looks forward to its next opportunity to compete!

Independent Test Capability Team
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

Day in the Park 2012

Jess White is the STEM Initiatives Lead at NASA’s IV&V Program. He is the current coordinator for the Day in the Park event. 

Thirteen years of Day in the Park events has impacted over 10,000 West Virginia citizens with high quality NASA Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational content. This year’s Day in the Park event was no different. On October 23-24, 2012, approximately 1,200 fifth and seventh-grade students had the unique opportunity to learn about STEM careers, NASA’s mission and what it takes to be an astronaut. With a goal of inspiring, educating and engaging learners about NASA and STEM careers, students experienced hands-on scientific and engineering presentations by former astronaut Ken Cameron, the Carnegie Science Center and the Seattle-based Museum of Flight. Also attending and serving as Master of Ceremonies was former West Virginia Congressman Alan Mollohan.


Day in the Park is provided to students each year to fight against the trend of students losing interest in science and math during pre-adolescent formative years of development. Day in the Park vendors strive to provide content that is jam packed full of the “WOW” factor in regards to science and math. While eating lunch, a student told me that they are now torn between working for NASA’s IV&V Program in Fairmont and becoming an astronaut after hearing about Mr. Cameron’s experience as a NASA astronaut. Teachers attending the event were equally impressed, stating they think these types of STEM awareness opportunities are exactly what their students need as motivation to take the steps necessary to become our nations next generation of STEM professionals. 

I could not have ‘daydreamed’ better responses from guests of our Day in the Park events! 

For more photos, visit NASA’s IV&V Program page on Facebook.

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

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 Jesse.E.White@nasa.gov or visit this link.

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

2012 NASA Engineering Apprenticeship Program

Sarah Layman is the NASA Engineering and Apprenticeship Program (NEAP) assistant. She is responsible for intern on-boarding success, internship experience success, intern accountability, and presentations at IV&V and Headquarters coordination.  

Jess White is the STEM Initiatives Lead. He is responsible for ensuring internship program goals are met, if not exceeded, as well as continually seeking ways to improve internship offerings for students.  

For 20 high school interns, the summer of 2012 may not be one they forget anytime soon. The interns came from high schools located all over West Virginia, which represented the IV&V Program’s 17th class of summer high school interns. The interns participated in a full-time eight week internship experience that provided them the opportunity to better their science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills, as well as their professional etiquette skills in NASA’s workforce. The NASA IV&V Engineering Apprenticeship Program began on June 11, 2012 and concluded on August 3, 2012. STEM Initiatives Lead Jess White feels there is a two-pronged goal possibility from this experience.

“It is our goal to provide students with real world workforce preparatory experiences, promote interest in NASA and STEM disciplines, and better prepare a future workforce and based on intern participants projects,” White said. “We are well on the way to infusing the next generation of STEM professionals into NASA’s and America’s future workforce.”  

NEAP interns Mr. White and Ms. Layman at NASA Headquarters

The high school interns had the opportunity to present their project efforts to an audience at NASA Headquarters which enabled This Week @ NASA media coverage. The video coverage can be found here. Also while at NASA Headquarters, the high school interns had the opportunity to meet NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden, who spoke to the interns and their families about the value of participating in programs like these, and how they (interns) will be responsible for leading NASA’s future missions. NEAP intern Ryder Huggins, like the other interns, realized the magnitude of this experience.

“Meeting the Administrator was a once in a lifetime experience and one I will never forget,” Huggins said.

Congratulations are due to these interns and a special thanks to the IV&V Program and mentors who volunteered their services in support of these internship initiatives.

Sarah Layman
NEAP Assistant

Jess White
STEM Initiatives Lead

NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

MMS Team Speaks to ERC Workshop

Eric Sylvania is the NASA Project Manager for the Magnetospheric Multiscale mission (MMS) IV&V effort. He is responsible for the day-to-day planning and execution of the technical and programmatic activities for the IV&V effort. Anita Berns is the Lead Engineer for the MMS IV&V effort and Brandon Miller is an analyst on the MMS IV&V Team.  

Each summer the Educator Resource Center (ERC) hosts a week-long workshop for educators on a variety of topics to supplement the curriculum and help meet national and state educational standards. In early July, the ERC hosted a group of educators for a “Space Weather” workshop, including an overview of magnetic reconnection and MMS. I, along with some other MMS IV&V team members, heard that the MMS project was going to be highlighted during the workshop, so we contacted the ERC to see if we could participate. As a result of this collaborative effort, Anita Berns, Brandon Miller and I were able to spend time with the educators in an effort to help them understand a little bit about what we do here at the NASA IV&V Program.

Project Manager Eric Sylvania and team speak to the workshop attendees about what they do for the project.

Anita and I provided the educators with an overview of the program, some insight into what IV&V is (and what IV&V is NOT!), and a few thoughts about the MMS project and the MMS IV&V effort, while Brandon provided some practical, real results from the IV&V analyses performed on MMS software. The educators were very receptive of the presentation, asked lots of questions and were very appreciative of the insight provided by the IV&V team. The IV&V team was very thankful for the opportunity to collaborate with the ERC and to be given an opportunity to talk to the folks on the front lines of our education system that will have a chance to influence the next generations of scientists, engineers and mathematicians.  

For more information about the ERC and/or opportunities to collaborate, contact Todd Ensign at todd.ensign@ivv.nasa.gov or learn more about the ERC by visiting their website at http://erc.ivv.nasa.gov.

For more information on this workshop, check out the ERC’s Josh Revels’ blog entry.  

Eric Sylvania
Project Manager
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

CFC 5K at NASA’s IV&V Facility

IV&V Project Manager Eric Sylvania is one of the 5K event organizers. He is also responsible for organizing IV&V’s first recreational running club.

On September 15, 2012 at 9:00 a.m. hundreds of runners will gather to complete a 5,000m race, equal to about 3.1 miles, through the I-79 Technology Park in Fairmont, W.Va. So, why will they be doing this? Well, there are the obvious reasons: improved health, better well being, stress reduction, etc. However, one of the less obvious reasons some walkers and runners will be up for the challenge is the benefit to the Combined Federal Campaign, or the ‘CFC’. So, what is the CFC, you ask?

The CFC is the world’s largest and most successful annual workplace charity campaign, with more than 200 CFC campaigns throughout the country and internationally to help to raise millions of dollars each year. Pledges made by federal civilian, postal and military donors during the campaign season (September 1, 2012 to December 15, 2012) support eligible non-profit organizations that provide health and human service benefits throughout the world. The CFC supports more than 4,000 non-for-profit organizations as a result of the many campaigns conducted throughout the fiscal year. The CFC Local Federal Coordinating Committee provides oversight for the North Central West Virginia Combined Federal Campaign and also determines eligibility for the local charities that apply to participate in the campaign. For more information, go to http://www.opm.gov/cfc/. You can find out more about our local CFC chapter here.

So, on race day, when you toe the line with the other runners, remember that there are several good reasons for running the CFC 5K at NASA IV&V: health, gratification, and the list goes on. Nevertheless, the most important reason is to benefit the CFC and the many great organizations it represents. Please remember that $10 of each registration fee will be given directly to the CFC. Pre-race registration ($20) ends on August 31, 2012. After August 31, 2012, you can register up until 8:30 a.m. on race day for an additional $5 ($25 total). For more information about the race, you can visit the 5K page on our website, or iPlayOutside.

If you have any questions about partnering in support of the race, or about the race itself, please feel free to contact one of the following individuals:

Eric Sylvania; Eric.L.Sylvania@nasa.gov; (304) 367-8266

Bree Layton; Bree.A.Layton@ivv.nasa.gov; (304) 367-8359