Tag Archives: NEAP

Moving On: Intern Sarah Layman Heads to Charleston, W.Va.

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Former NEAP intern and year-round intern, Sarah Layman, recently graduated from West Virginia University, earning her Bachelor of Science in industrial and management systems engineering. Sarah started at IV&V in the summer of 2009 and has worked here every summer since. She will be leaving the program to go to work full-time for FedEx Express in Charleston, W.Va. as an associate engineer.

I can still remember the day that one of my friends told my mom about the NEAP (NASA IV&V Engineering Apprenticeship Program) opportunity. I was so mad at her, because I knew that there was no way I could get out of that one. I was on the swim team at the time, and the only thing that I wanted to do that summer was be a lifeguard and get a tan.

The next thing that I knew, I was filling out the application with my mom. I decided to play along because I remember thinking to myself, “There’s no way I’ll actually get this.” Well just my luck, a month or so later I received a letter in the mail from Jess White telling me that, guess what… you will be a NEAP intern for the summer of 2009!

Intern S. Layman (2)

I wouldn’t say that I started that summer with an open mind. I was so unbelievably nervous, because “This is NASA, I can’t mess up!” Jess will attest to the fact that I sat at my workstation and didn’t say a word to anyone for at least the first week. At some point I started talking to my partner on the project and people that sat around me more, and we even started to eat lunch together outside.

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When people used to ask me where I was working for the summer I’d say NASA IV&V, and their response was always “Wow.” I quickly realized that this was an awesome opportunity that not every 16-year-old got, and it was one that could really benefit my future. When I got into that mind-set, I was able to open up and really start learning. And after that, well the rest was history. I haven’t wanted to leave IV&V since. Although, I did have to do something difficult, I had to tell my mom that she was right and thank her. I’ve learned so much from this organization, and I hope that my working here has benefited the IV&V Program in some small way.

As I move forward with my career, there are a few key ideals that I will take with me from IV&V.

  • Safety is everyone’s responsibility; it must not be sacrificed in any way.
  • I must always do my work to the highest standard and continually look for improvement.
  • It is important to balance my work life with my home life.

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IV&V gives high school and college interns the chance to work as professionals. We are given a mentor, but we’re expected to act and work as any other employee. This independence allowed me to learn quickly how to communicate, manage my time, accomplish projects goals, and so much more. I can go forward knowing that I have not only developed important technical skills, but I have also learned how to work effectively in this environment. Thank you to all that have helped me along the way, as well as all of the interns that you have and will impact every year. Your time and effort is appreciated. Also, a special thanks to Jess White for all that he does with the internship program, and so much more.

Sarah Layman
NEAP Assistant
NASA’s Independent Verification & Validation Program

Introspection of an Intern

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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

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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