NASA Logo, National Aeronautics and Space Administration

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Goddard Space Flight Center

Applied Engineering and Technology Directorate

Students Share Experiences

Hear from some of our Summer Intern and Pathways Intern (formerly Co-Op) students about their exciting experiences while working in AETD.

Patricia Sazama

Patricia Sazama

Patricia Sazama – Interned with Jacqueline LeMoigne-Stewart/580 in the Summer Intern Program:

"This summer I worked on the preliminary research for an automatic oil spill detection algorithm in Code 580.  I used machine learning techniques—specifically Support Vector Machines to train a model that could predict if a pixel  of hyperspectral data of ocean water was contaminated with oil or not.  The sample data used was from the EO-1 satellite’s Hyperion sensor and our preliminary classifiers were able to achieve 100% accuracy on test data they had not been trained on.  Next summer I will continue this work, expanding the water and oil samples the models are trained on to make them more robust to new locations.  I also assisted with projects I worked on during my previous internships here last summer and this spring.  These were on the topic of image registration, and creating an image registration algorithm that was fast enough and light enough on processing resources that it could be used onboard a satellite."


Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson

Marcus Jackson – Interned with Steve Scott/500 in the Summer Intern Program:

“My second summer here at GSFC certainly went by a lot faster than I expected.  It seems like I was just sitting in the Building 8 auditorium a few weeks ago, eager to find out what my mentor, GSFC Chief Engineer Steve Scott, had planned for me this summer; little did I know how packed my schedule would be.  Starting the first week with a DSCOVR baseline review, I attended numerous other project reviews and Monthly Status Reviews which not only expanded my understanding of the spaceflight and engineering process, but was also beneficial to my project this summer.  I had two main projects this summer, create a matrix of proposed changes and items for discussion/reexamination for the next versions of the GOLD Rules, as well as research and compile all the references in the GOLD Rules and GEVS, especially GOLD Rules references that point to GEVS and PG’s (NPR’s, NPG’s, GPR’s GPG’s).  When an issue would come up with the GOLD Rules in one of the project reviews, Steve would turn around and say “put this on the docket.”  I now knew the context and some understanding of the reasoning behind the proposed changes.  I felt like an integral part of creating the package and this allowed me to provide useful input when appropriate.  Researching the references was admittedly time consuming but it was valuable to develop these resourcefulness skills which I know I will use throughout my academic and professional career.  There are so many more experiences I could talk about, from sharing an office with Steve, to the NASA Systems Engineering 101 course, or the various activities I was afforded thanks to the Senior Internship program, and even the day to day interactions I had with others on center.  I am truly thankful for my experience interning at GSFC and I hope to return next summer to continue my development before heading off to graduate studies.”


AETD CubeSat Design Team

The AETD CubeSat design team was made up of 11 students who ranged from High School to graduate level. They were tasked with designing a mission for a hyperspectral imager in a 3U CubeSat.  Hyperspectral imaging creates a series of images that are combined into a set with each image depicting specific wavelengths in the electromagnetic spectrum. This set of images forms a three-dimensional hyperspectral data cube used for analysis. This data can be used to map absorption patterns of chlorophyll, a biomolecule necessary for photosynthesis, and tell us a lot about the annual lifecycle of plants on Earth. The team also defined the mission concept and developed a list of requirements for the science and hardware. The students worked in close interaction with mentors and were able to develop and hone their skills in at least one spacecraft discipline during their summer experience.  The team was awarded First Place at the Summer Intern Poster Session at the end of the summer and got to meet with Chris Scolese!

The mentors included:  568/Pat Kilroy (Lead), 544/Pete Rossoni, 545/Jeff Didion, 551/Joe Howard, 561/James Fraction, 561/Ken Li, 563/David Kim, 565/Porfy Beltran, 567/Peter Acosta, 587/Gary Crum, 591/Gerardo Cruz-Ortiz, 591/Paul Mason, 592/John Panek, 592/Mark Steiner, 592/Frank Kirchman, 595/Paul Anderson, and 694/Phil Dabney

AETD CubeSat Team

AETD CubeSat Engineering Design Team: Back Row - Left to Right: Chris Erb, Clayton Jacobs, Jeffery Sherwood, Alex Petrov, Matt Davis, Pat Kilroy (Mentor), Front Row - Left to Right: Anthony Yee, Marvin Cosare, Meagan Robbett, Liz Sauerbrunn, Tiara Johnson, Tanzim Imam



Chris Erb:
“This summer was a good experience for me, because I was given the opportunity to work in a large team of up and coming engineers that were all dedicated to the goal of producing a cubesat. Our project was open ended; we made up our own objectives and developed our own expectations for the cubesat. The blank slate we started with was unfamiliar territory for most of us, but it was also a valuable experience, as it allowed us to see the early mission planning stages and issues that are rarely noted at later points in the design process. By the end of the ten weeks we had planned a mission, hypothesized solutions, and determined that the design was feasible enough to move forward. I believe that we did good work while we were here at NASA , and I am proud to call these engineers my colleagues and friends.”

Jeffery Sherwood:
“I was very excited to be selected as a member of the AETD CubeSat intern design team.  My primary lead was working on the electrical power subsystem while also offering assistance on the controls subsystem.  My responsibilities included determining required solar panel and battery specifications and sizes, in addition to selecting power tracking and distribution electronics.  This was an amazing experience for me both educationally and professionally that will be carried on to all of my future endeavors.”

Alex Petrov:
“I worked as the Attitude Determination and Control lead on the AETD CubeSat design team.  My responsibilities included selecting a control system, performing analysis on the orbit, and designing control methods for the satellite. My favorite part of working on this project was that the team encountered challenges exactly like those which professional engineers face every day. This experience taught me things that a classroom environment never could.”

Liz Sauerbrunn:
“I acted as the lead thermal engineer and supporting mechanical engineer for the CubeSat project.  I graduated with a BS in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Maryland and will be staying in the Fall for my Masters in Mechanical Engineering.  I learned an incredible amount this summer about mission development and the logistics behind designing a spacecraft.  I thoroughly enjoyed my time here this summer as a member of the AETD intern team.  I hope to continue my relationship with NASA Goddard in the years to come.”

Tiara Johnson:
“During my AETD Cubesat design internship, I worked as the primary systems engineer and secondary instrument engineer. I helped design and implement requirements for a valuable science mission.  In addition to this I calculated mass, pointing and performance budgets and wrote up schedules. I learned a lot about working as a team and about the way NASA functions. I hope to end up back at Goddard when I begin my career.”

Tanzim Imam:
“This summer was the greatest summer I had in my life. I gained more practical engineering knowledge in a short amount of time than I ever did in my life. It was great working on a satellite project with an interdisciplinary team of interns which simulated real satellite projects done here at NASA Goddard. I learned a lot about the dependence of the various subsystems of a satellite on one another, and the prototype fabrication process. I also greatly honed my CAD and FEA skills during the internship. This was an experience of a lifetime and it will definitely help me with my future career ventures.”


Ryan Hannahoe:

A Montana State University education student spent the summer teaching others about the James Webb Space Telescope, the successor to the Hubble telescope that is designed to unravel the mystery of how the universe grew from a big bang into galaxies, stars and planets.

As an intern on the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) mission at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center just outside of Washington, D.C., Ryan Hannahoe helped coordinate Hannahoe also developed educational content, trained educators and worked with others, such as celebrity Bill Nye the Science Guy, to bring information about the telescope to the public.

"The internship was probably the best thing I've ever done," said Hannahoe, 26, who is originally from Pennsylvania. "By working with JWST, so many doors have opened." Read More


Goddard Space Flight Center
Building 11 Suite C200
8800 Greenbelt Road
Greenbelt, Maryland 20771
Office: 301-286-6218