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WO-S student selected for internship at UT to analyze NASA Earth and Space Science Data

To The Leader

Darian Hardin, a student from West Orange-Stark High School has been selected for the prestigious STEM Enhancement in Earth and Space Science (SEES) summer internship to be held at the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research. Students will work with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research from data received from NASA’s Earth observing satellites as well as designing Mars habitats, Lunar Exploration, and robotics. This nationally competitive program sponsored by NASA’s Texas Space Grant Consortium selects students who will increase their knowledge of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) through Earth and space education.

SEES is a collaborative effort of Texas Space Grant Consortium members and affiliates, NASA, and The University of Texas at Austin. Students apply for SEES and are selected competitively. The internships are organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs. The program combines the strengths of collaborators to enrich teaching and learning of STEM.

Almost 750 applicants were received for the coveted internship position and 300 were selected this year. Due to the pandemic, the student internship will be all virtual in 2021. Students conduct 60-90 hours of NASA Earth and Space Science research and Python coding to prepare them for the program. During the internship students conduct hands-on activities and field investigations and attend presentations by NASA subject matter experts.

Earth is a complex, dynamic system we do not yet fully understand. The Earth system, like the human body, comprises diverse components that interact in complex ways. We strive to understand the Earth’ atmosphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, and biosphere as a single connected system. Our planet is changing on all spatial and temporal scales. The purpose of NASA’s Earth science program is to develop a scientific understanding of Earth’s system and its response to natural or human-induced changes, and to improve prediction of climate, weather, and natural hazards.

The SEES internship proves the excitement students feel about space science is a critical step in enriching science, math, engineering and technology. The internship will provide students the rare – and for the most, unique, – opportunity to work beside professional scientists and engineers at the cutting edge of space exploration.

SEES is funded through NASA Cooperative Agreement NNH15ZDA004C and is part of NASA’s Science Activation Program.