National Intern Day
NASA will host a variety of events and interactive opportunities celebrating the agency’s interns and their contributions to its missions in recognition of National Intern Day, held this year on Thursday, July 29.
Through social media takeovers and question-and-answer sessions, podcast episodes, and more, NASA is offering a behind-the-scenes look at how interns participate in agency projects and the best routes to a NASA internship. Current interns, mentors, and internship coordinators from across the agency will share their experiences and advice for those interested in pursuing a career in STEM.
Via NASA’s internship program, interns gain hands-on experience in agency missions from Earth science research to planetary missions to the Artemis Moon missions, which will land the first woman and first person of color on the lunar surface.
“Behind every successful NASA mission, there are interns making meaningful contributions. Our interns today truly are the Artemis Generation,” said Mike Kincaid, associate administrator for STEM Engagement at NASA. “They’re helping us to reach new heights and to send humans back to the Moon and on to Mars.”
Internships help prepare students to become part of the future workforce for the nation and at NASA, which the Partnership for Public Service recently named the “Best Place to Work in the Federal Government” for the ninth year in a row. There are many ways students can get involved with NASA, including Artemis Student Challenges, NASA’s App Development Challenge, and building tools to be tested in the astronaut training facility through the Micro-g Neutral Buoyancy Experiment Design Teams (Micro-G-NeXT) challenges. For students to connect to NASA regionally, the National Space Grant and Fellowship Project has a national network of 52 consortia with more than 1,000 affiliated colleges and universities across the country.
NASA intern Sarah Adewumi offered advice for students currently considering applying for internships. “Definitely go for it,” said Adewumi, a four-time NASA intern currently working in project management and cybersecurity at the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Being a NASA intern is one of my favorite experiences and truly has changed my life forever.”
The number of interns working at NASA has steadily increased as virtual internships opened the door for students who otherwise may have been unable to participate. The agency welcomed 2,495 interns in 2020 and is on track to exceed that number in 2021. During the summer 2021 term, 1,837 virtual interns worked remotely for NASA, a 14% increase over the previous summer. This year’s class of summer interns represented every state in the country, as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the District of Columbia.
“I’m really grateful for the opportunity to take part in a virtual internship,” said Timothy Denego, a student at Haskell Indian Nations University who currently is interning with Goddard through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project for American Indian and Alaska Native STEM Engagement activity. “It’s meant a lot to me to be able to stay with my community while handling my duties as an intern and contributing to NASA’s mission. And since I’ve been working from home, I’ve been able to share the work I’m doing with family and friends and talk to younger family members about what they can do if they want to pursue a NASA internship someday.”
Former NASA interns have gone on to become astronauts, engineers, and more, building careers on the foundations of their earliest experiences at the agency.
The full listing of NASA’s National Intern Day activities is as follows (all times Eastern):
Wednesday, July 28
1:15 to 1:45 p.m. – U.S. Federal Agencies Internships Downlink
Students participating in internships at NASA and four other federal agencies in a downlink with NASA astronaut Mark Vande Hei and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Akihiko Hoshide aboard the International Space Station.
Thursday, July 29
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. – Instagram story takeover and Twitter threads
Interns from across NASA will be joined by Abel Morelos, an internship coordinator, to participate in an Instagram story takeover, while an Instagram carousel post will highlight 10 interns from several NASA centers.
On Twitter, interns will post threads sharing their experiences with NASA.
3 to 3:30 p.m. – NASA Science Live
Agency interns and internships will be the focus of NASA Science Live, a monthly show that connects viewers directly with agency experts. Use #AskNASA to ask questions about the NASA internship experience and learn about upcoming student opportunities. Watch the episode live at:
4 to 5 p.m. – Reddit Ask Me Anything
Redditors are invited to ask NASA interns about their own stories and experiences and get advice and application tips from intern coordinators. Bring your questions to the “Ask Me Anything”!
Houston We Have a Podcast: How to Be a Successful Intern at NASA
Interns Jaden Chambers from Kennedy and Leah Davis from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston will join mentor Kelly Smith in this episode examining the highly effective habits of successful interns. This episode will be available at:
For more, listen to the collection of intern takeovers for Houston We Have a Podcast.
The Invisible Network Podcast: 2021 Interns
Each year, NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Internship Project welcomes students of all levels to develop projects of real benefit to the agency while earning real world experience in their fields. This episode of The Invisible Network podcast will speak with members of 2021’s intern cohort at three different NASA centers. This episode will be available at:
Small Steps, Giant Leaps Podcast: Intern Takeover
Interns take over the Small Steps, Giant Leaps, podcast from NASA’s Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership Knowledge Services. The episode will be available at:
Friday, July 30
Launch Viewing Opportunity for NASA Interns
Agency interns will attend NASA’s Boeing Orbital Flight Test-2 launch to the International Space Station from Kennedy and tour the center’s iconic facilities. A behind-the-scenes look at their activities at the Florida spaceport will be shared via Instagram stories. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars. Students and educators are encouraged to tune in via NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s websiteto watch launch and prelaunch coverage.
11 a.m. – Gravity Assist Podcast with NASA’s Chief Scientist
Recent NASA intern with NASA’s Science Mission Directorate Felicia Ragucci dives into the history of the Neutral Buoyancy Simulator, a former training site for astronauts at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. NASA Chief Scientist Jim Green, who was once a diver there, will share his memories on this special episode of Gravity Assist.
To learn how students can get involved with NASA and its missions at any grade level, visit:
NASA will begin accepting applications for spring 2022 internships on Oct. 1, 2021. To learn more about NASA internships, or to apply, visit:
National Intern Day
Rod is a blogger, writer, filmmaker, photographer, daydreamer who likes to cook. Rod produces and directs the web series, CUPIC: Diary of an Investigator. He is also the editor, producer and administrator of STM Daily News, a part of the TNC Network.