Looking up at the starry night sky, my heart yearns for the vast universe. For a moment I want to fly into the universe to explore the mysteries of the stars. If you have the same thoughts as me, NASA could be where you yearn for. If you are lucky enough to get accepted for a NASA internship program, the experience and memory will definitely stick with you for a long time.
There are two ways to apply for a NASA internship program: Summer Internship Program and Internship Employment Program (IEP). The biggest difference between the two is that IEP allows students the opportunity to become a full member.
What is a NASA Internship Program?
NASA internship program aims to strengthen and increase the country’s STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) talent scale.
During the internship, NASA students are paired with tutors one-on-one. Tutors’ job is to guide the students through research and experiential learning projects. The tutorial system is also the core of NASA’s high school internship program, which consists of volunteer scientists, engineers, researchers, and other managers. These experts have created one miracle after another in their field and brought the next generation of thinkers dedicated to cultivating space travel.
What do students do during their NASA Internship Program?
Last year when schools in the US were shut due to COVID-19 surge, students were working from homes, but even that did not deter them from chasing their goals. These interns still had the chance to work with NASA remotely. A group of six interns built a prototype lunar spacecraft that can launch on a balloon over the California desert. Another team worked on the NEOWISE project – an automated system that detects objects that are near to Earth, such as asteroids. And another was helping the Perseverance Mars rover launch.
How do you apply for a NASA Internship Program?
There are a few requirements and the below is taken straight from https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/edu/intern/apply/summer-internship-program/
- Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students pursuing degrees in science, technology, engineering or mathematics disciplines from accredited U.S. universities.
- Minimum cumulative 3.00 GPA. The cumulative GPA must originate from the institution where the student has a current active status.
- Open to U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents (LPRs).
- First internship experience must be 10 weeks or more. Subsequent internship terms are flexible.
- Students must be available full time (40 hours per week) for at least 10-weeks in the summer.
Students would need to submit their resume and unofficial transcript.
What is the NASA Summer Internship Employment Program (IEP)?
NASA IEP provides paid work experience and career development for current students and fresh graduates, and provides them with a quick start opportunity for their careers, and a chance to become a regular employee after the project ends.
IEP is a dual-track project: a multi-center project and a single-center project. Students in multi-center projects have interests and skills that span multiple departments, which enables them to change job positions and locations.
Therefore, students participating in the multitrack project will be rotated three times in three different jobs and locations. Students enrolled in the single-center program have professional skills or special academic interests, and fill certain NASA positions. Students in single-center projects are paired with mentors and consultants to fully explore a specific area.
What do students do during their NASA Internship Employment Program (IEP)?
Participants enrolled under the IEP tend to have higher responsibility than the Summer Internship Program. Participants in NASA IEP contribute to a variety of projects and have many different roles. For example, when Marissa B. Garcia from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) majored in mechanical engineering, she was working at the Marshall Space Flight Center. She designed and analyzed avionics for the Space Launch System (SLS) payload adapter.
How do you apply for a NASA Internship Employment Program (IEP)?
There are a few requirements and the below is taken straight from https://www.nasa.gov/careers/pathways-program
- Be a U.S. citizen;
- Be at least 16 years of age;
- Be enrolled or accepted for enrollment on at least a half-time basis;
- Be pursuing a degree or certificate;
- Currently have and maintain a 2.9 grade point average;
- Be able to complete at least 640 hours of work prior to completing your degree/certificate requirements; and
- Meet any other requirements described in the announcement (some IEP positions require you to be pursuing specific majors).
The NASA website provides many suggestions for interns and IEP applicants. There are many students’ testimonials showcasing their background information, their work during the course of program and what they have achieved. Take some time to get to know more about what the position entails and consider if applying for any of these positions is your goal.
Next, you may be interested to know more about this student’s mentorship program on Cosmology.