Not your average summer job

High school, college interns work on NASA high-tech projects

July 24, 2014

From left, Daniel Diazdelcastillo, Ming Ma, Kirby Carmack, Matthew Showalter, Parth Aghera, Kris Kincheloe and Paul Kubitschek with an example of 3-D modeling software on the computer screen from the 2012 summer internship program. Photo credit: NASA Goddard/Jacob Larsen

Most teens are spending the summer working, whether it is at the pool, a retail store, or even at the airport or FBO. But 500 students from around the United States are spending their summer interning at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center on projects that are on the cutting edge of science and technology.

The center's internship opportunities are designed to provide high school, undergraduate and graduate students with experiences that motivate and prepare them for careers aligned with Goddard and its industry and university partners.

A group photo of past Goddard summer interns.

The students are learning and applying research protocols and processes related to Earth- and space-systems science, computer science, engineering and technology, while working with some of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers at the main Goddard campus, the Independent Verification and Validation Facility, the Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Wallops Flight Facility.


Each intern was placed with a NASA mentor and provided with scientific or engineering research opportunities that matched the student's educational interests and background. Their assigned work may include equipment design and testing, experimental data collection and processing, computer software development or fieldwork. Many of the projects are important to future NASA research efforts.All four Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft are stacked and ready for transport to the vibration chamber for environmental tests. Student interns are helping with the MMS project this summer.


Interns are working on missions such as the Neutron star Interior Composition ExploreR, which studies the extraordinary gravitational, electromagnetic and nuclear-physics environments embodied by neutron stars; the Magnetospheric Multiscale, a Solar Terrestrial Probes mission comprising four identically instrumented spacecraft that will use Earth's magnetosphere as a laboratory to study the microphysics of three fundamental plasma processes; the James Webb Telescope; a large space telescope that will be launched later this decade; and others.


Click to learn more or to apply for NASA scholarships, which are available for fall, spring, summer and year-round.

A group photo of the James Webb telescope members with the competed Integrated Science Instrument module. Student interns are working on the telescope project this summer. Photo credit: NASA/Chris Gunn