NASA interns' guidance to students: persistence pays off
Getting an internship at NASA might seem like an out-of-this-world dream to many, but Brandeis Bellamy and Precious Fadimiroye would like their fellow University of Houston-Clear Lake students to know that with a little guidance, it can become a reality.
Bellamy and Fadimiroye will be sharing their personal experiences as NASA interns in a live Interns Chat on Teams, April 30 at 2 p.m.
"I'd like to talk to UH-Clear Lake students about applying for stipend-based internships at NASA," said Bellamy, a computer engineering major who has been a NASA Pathways intern since 2019. "I'd like to discuss what students will be doing as interns, and I'll also have a manager of a specific branch to come and answer questions as well."
Bellamy said they will offer advice on how to complete the application process, the experiences students will have during the interview process, and deadlines for applications, as well as their own personal stories.
"I really want to encourage and inform people about this," they said. "I was rejected a number of times for the internship I now have. There is a lot of competition and I've been on countless interviews, but I had to learn to improve each time. I kept coming back and they finally hired me because they saw I was persistent. A key way to get employment at NASA is through an internship."
Fadimiroye, who is studying computer science, said she also began her NASA internship in 2019, but got her start at Houston Community College. "I'm now also a Pathways intern at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, but I'm working virtually from Houston," she said.
Pathways interns, she explained, work with different departments throughout NASA, changing each semester.
"I've worked with the engineering group, creating software for long duration space flight. We created the application software for ARED (Advance Resistive Exercise Device). Now I'm working at Goddard on the IT side, learning help desk ticketing and website migration."
Her message to students during the live chat, said Fadimiroye, is that there is no reason not to try for an internship at NASA, and every reason to stay persistent.
"I was afraid to apply. I didn't think I had a good enough GPA, and I didn't think I had enough experience. But it just takes one mentor or coordinator to see your skills and you'll get accepted," she said. "Don't be overwhelmed by the name 'NASA.' Just put yourself out there."
Bellamy said that a great misconception was that NASA only seeks STEM-related students for internships. "The truth is, NASA needs people who are studying all fields," they said. "They need game developers, digital artists, social media experts, graphic designers, students studying finance — even scuba divers. The range of their needs is huge."
They advised that rejection was common, and just to keep trying. "I didn't get it the first, second or third time I tried. I showed I was eager and would not be set back because I wasn't accepted. Put on a tough skin and be hopeful you will get accepted," they said.
To join the Teams chat, go online.