IV&V Intern Adison Nordstrom

Name: Adison Nordstrom
Age: 20
Education and year in school: Rising junior at West Virginia University
Area of study or intended area of study: Computer science major, physics minor
Unique fact about you: I swam competitively for 10-11 years.
What brought you to NASA? I applied for a 2016 summer internship here, got it, and now I’m back for a second summer.
Where you see yourself after you enter into your career? Hopefully software development, either with a tech company or with NASA.

IV&V Intern Sydney Michalski

Sydney Michalski, a sophomore at West Virginia University (WVU), is originally from Fairmont, West Virginia. She’s currently working on her double undergraduate major in English and mathematics. She’s also part of WVU’s Uteach program, which will allow her to receive her teaching certificate upon graduation. During the school year and when she’s not in class, she works at the university’s student center, the Mountainlair, as a building supervisor for Night Operations. In the summers, she’s usually working at the local ice cream shop, the Dairy Crème Corner in Fairmont, as a shift leader. Of course this summer she’s working with NASA’s IV&V folks to help gain a better understanding of where she’d like to go after graduation. Sydney likes to unwind by dabbling in pottery and hopes to make a full kitchen set for when she moves into her first apartment this year.

Sydney says she wanted to work at NASA’s IV&V Program, because she had a lot of friends who spent their summer interning at the program and told her that had great experiences. Sydney sees herself working in the education field in some capacity, whether it be in the public school system, with an education program at NASA, or anything else that will let her positively influence young kids, especially girls, to enter STEM fields with confidence.

 

 

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.

IMG_1725

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

2013 FIRST LEGO League Robotics Competition

Dean Kamen, entrepreneur and inventor, had a vision that one day scientists, engineers and mathematicians would be celebrated much like sports figures are in our pop culture. In 1989, he founded FIRST® (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) with this idea in mind.  FIRST® is a robotics science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) competition sponsored by LEGO® that places students in a “real-world” situation solving a problem using innovation and teamwork. Teams gain hands-on experience programming and engineering a robot, as well as teamwork experience brainstorming ideas and learning to manage time. FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL), in particular, involves teams with ages ranging from 9 to 14 years old.

Each year, teams are giving a unique and different challenge. This year’s challenge was “Nature’s Fury.” Teams were faced with the task of identifying a specific natural disaster such as an avalanche or landslide, tornado or cyclone, earthquake, tsunami, flood, volcanic eruption, hurricane, wildfire, or storm and then from that point, designing an innovative solution for the community. Their innovation is then tested in several areas:  robotics challenge, robot design, project and core values. The robotics challenge includes programming a robot to maneuver a playing field with obstacles related to the theme using a LEGO® brick with sensors, motors, and gears. Robot design allows the teams to showcase their robot and answer engineering-related questions regarding their build. The project portion involves the research work needed to solve the presented problem and the innovative solution in which they arrived. Finally, core values encompasses how the team worked together to solve the problem.

This year 58 FLL teams from all over various counties of West Virginia including school groups, 4-H clubs and Boy & Girl Scout teams attended the State Tournament at Fairmont State University on December 7, 2013, making it the largest STEM competition to date in our beautiful mountain state. It didn’t take long for Dean Kamen’s vision to materialize as the gymnasium transformed into a room full of competitors, spectators, and excited energy. Teams could be found in the pit and judging areas perfecting their robot programs, rehearsing their presentations, chanting team cheers, wearing costumes (one of the biggest traditional in FLL history), meeting new teams and making new friends.   One of the team members of the Brix Mix from Putnam County, who competed for the first time, stated, “This is a lot bigger than we thought it would be. This has been a GREAT learning experience!”

Awards for the 2013 West Virginia State Tournament

Champions Award, 1st Place, Nerdbots (Fairmont)
Champions Award, 2nd Place, SCIENEERS (Fairmont)
Champions Award, 3rd Place, Technomancers (Morgantown)
Robot Performance, 1st Place, Technomancers (Morgantown)
Robot Performance, 2nd Place, Robocats (Morgantown)
Robot Performance, 3rd Place, Nerdbots (Fairmont)
Project: Research, 1st Place, Silicon Stream (Mineral Wells)
Project: Innovative Solution, 1st Place, Infini-Miners (Morgantown)
Project: Presentation, 1st Place, Tech Nados (Arthurdale)
Robot Design: Mechanical Design, 1st Place, West Side CyberCubs (Fairmont)
Robot Design: Programming, 1st Place, Suncrest Stemtists (Morgantown)
Robot Design: Strategy and Innovation, 1st Place, Fairmont Blockheads (Fairmont)
Core Values: Gracious Professionalism, 1st Place, F.I.R.E. (Martinsburg)
Core Values: Teamwork, 1st Place, Warriors (Nitro)
Core Values: Inspiration, 1st Place, Fifth Element (Caldwell)
Judges Award: Against All Odds, Resolutions (Charleston)
Judges Award: Against All Odds, RebotiCX (Huntington)
Judges Award: Community Engagement, Coalbots (Pecksmill)
Outstanding Volunteer, Abraham Falsi, (Montgomery)
Adult Coach Award, Ann Burns, (Fairmont)
Youth Service Award, William (Morgantown)

The 2014 teaser “World Class” has already been released and can be viewed at the FIRST LEGO League website.  Since the WV State Tournament has become so large Todd Ensign, tournament director, made the announcement during the tournament that next year there will be five regional qualifying tournaments.  This step is a must as WV becomes a bigger and bigger player in STEM engagement initiatives and needs are met over all 55 counties.

To help make the State Tournament a success we enlisted 100 volunteers to assist in judging, registration, tour guides, social media gurus, as well as audio visual and sound technicians.   The MARS (Morgantown Area RoboticS) FRC high school robotics team volunteered to referee the robotics tables and challenges.

Sponsorship for the tournament included a $2,250.00 total donation from Thrasher Engineering, West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission in Science & Research, and Par Mar Stores.  These funds allow the winning Championship team additional monies to attend another FLL event such as the national tournament.  Additional sponsorship to help run the state tournament came from NASA’s Independent Verification &Validation Program, WV Space Grant Consortium, and Fairmont State University.

For more information visit the FIRST® LEGO® League homepage.

Jaime Ford
NASA’s IV&V Program ERC’s Graduate Assistant for Student Programs

Summer Interns Return to IV&V

Year round intern and NEAP assistant Sarah Layman has been with the program since 2011. She works with the STEM Initiatives Lead to help with the summer college and high school interns.

It’s summer intern season here at NASA’s IV&V Program and for 22 college and high school interns, this means an experience they won’t forget.

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 six college interns here this summer represent the program’s 4th class of the 10-week long Summer College Internship Program (SCIP), and the 16 high school interns are the program’s 18th class of the 8-week longNASA 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 and financial management careers. For one project mentor, the work with his two high school interns has already proven to be a positive experience.  

“They are absorbing all this technical information faster than I could have ever imagined and are already blowing away my expectations for what we will have achieved toward the end of this summer,” Space Flight Design Challenge OC-Flight-1 project mentor Steven Hard said.  

The intent of the NASA IV&V Space Flight Design Challenge is to provide a STEM opportunity for students to engage in the design and fabrication of a space-based system so these skills become more common for the next generation of engineers and scientists. The internship project was designed to given students the opportunity to join the OC-Flight-1 experienced engineering team and engage in designing system requirements and architectures as well as solving specific mission challenges. As part of this team, high school interns Tori Snyder and Eric Post have and will continue to access hands-on experience that includes subsystem component/payload integration, acceptance level testing, and amateur radio communications.  

summer interns

 

Summer interns

Pictured above, Snyder and Post test individual solar cells for continuity and the overall solar panel’s voltage output when placed perpendicular to a high intensity light source. Pictured below this, mentor Hard and intern Post test transceiver communication with the project’s ground station handytalkies (HTs) that are connected to a SmartPad running an app to decode the packet.  

Another ongoing summer internship project is the Energy Efficiency project mentored by David Sheldon and David Dial. This project gives college intern Jack Wilkins the opportunity to work with the program’s facility team to explore ways to increase energy efficiency here at the program. Wilkins will also be researching industry best practices for efficient lighting, ran water collection systems and will submit his findings in a report at the end of the summer. Pictured below, mentor Sheldon and intern Wilkins go over building plans and operations.

 

Summer interns

In addition to this professional experience, the NEAP interns will have the opportunity in August to present their projects to NASA Headquarters. The interns and mentors are listed below. 

College Interns

Nick Ohi – Mentor: Ricky Forquer 
Jaclyn Hobbs – Mentor: Ricky Forquer 
Logan Smithson – Mentor: Todd Gauer
Chris Gatto – Mentor: Scott Kinney
Jack Wilkins – Mentor: David Sheldon
Michael Solomon – Mentor: Jerry Sims
 
High School Interns 

Matthew Gramlich and Jonathan Lister – Mentor: Ricky Forquer
Michael Fouts and Esha Halabe – Mentor: Ryan Starn
Tori Snyder and Eric Post – Mentor: Steven Hard
Rachel Tyras and Trey Duckworth – Mentor: Rick Hess
Robert Hewitt – Mentor: Don Kranz
Wyatt Kitzmiller and Evan Lynn – Mentor: Joelle Spagnuolo-Loretta
Cortney Mercer and Bertalan Czinege – Mentor: Jerry Sims
Eric Tennant and Ryder Huggins – Mentor: Scott Kinney
Cole Frasher – Mentor: Stephen Driskell

Congratulations are due to these interns and a special thanks to the program for supporting these internship initiatives. Here’s to a great summer!

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

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

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

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

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