Sending humans to space, returning to the Moon, transforming aircraft, exploring the extraordinary every day: just a few things you are a part of as a NASA intern. Whether you have dreamed of working at the agency your whole life, or discovered a new interest, students at NASA have the opportunity to make real contributions to space exploration and flight. Want to know more? Here are five ways these internships can be rocket fuel for your career:
5. NASA gives you a navigation system.
Imagine walking into a lab to work side-by-side with NASA scientists, engineers and researchers. As a NASA intern, that’s a daily reality. Mentors are full-time employees who guide and work with students throughout their internship. Space communications intern Nick Sia believes working with a mentor is what makes NASA’s internships different. “Working one-on-one has given me more opportunities to work on different projects,” he says. “It’s the best motivation to do great work.”
4. It’s more than training for launch day.
As a NASA intern, your work matters. Students are treated as employees, and their ideas are valued. Hands-on assignments allow interns to make real contributions to NASA research and gain experience. For example, Erin Rezich is working in our mobility lab to help design excavation hardware for planetary surfaces such as the Moon. “It’s an incredibly exciting project because these are problems that have to be solved to move planetary exploration forward,” she says.
3. Students develop an array of skills.
Not only do interns improve their technical skills, but they are also building communication and leadership skills. This summer, students are taking part in a two-week immersive design challenge. Participants will design a Ram Air Turbine for NASA Glenn’s 1×1 Supersonic Wind Tunnel. “This design challenge is a unique opportunity to create a design from scratch, which could actually be implemented,” says Woodrow Funk, an electrical testing engineer intern. Projects such as this allow students to work independently, plan, organize and improve time management skills.
2. Non-technical degrees shoot for the stars.
NASA also offers many opportunities for students pursuing a career outside of STEM fields. Departments such as human resources, administration, education and communications engage students with hands-on projects. These organizations provide support essential to NASA’s programs and missions. “I was excited that NASA offered opportunities that match my skill set,” says Molly Kearns, a digital media student working with Space Communications and Navigation. Kearns’ first summer at NASA confirmed her passion for graphic design. “What makes the experience so rewarding is seeing content that I created published on social media sites,” she says.
1. Students are surrounded by extraordinary peers.
Students come to NASA from all over the nation to develop important skills matched to their career goals and expand the way they think about their work. Being surrounded by the best scientists, developers, engineers, mathematicians and communicators is inspiring. NASA’s network is one of graduate fellow Jamesa Stokes’ main motivations. “There are tons of smart and awesome people who work here,” says Stokes, “At the end of the day, they are willing to help anyone who comes and asks for it.”
Are you ready to liftoff your career? Learn more about opportunities for students at NASA here.
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