By Isabell Pina
As I approached the end of my first engineering year at San Antonio College, I became one of the four students contacted by Dr. Dan Dimitriu, coordinator of the engineering department, about an internship opportunity with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Houston.
During the past 10 weeks, I had hands-on experience, working side-by-side with NASA engineers, technicians, and designers.
The Crew and Thermal Systems Division (CTSD) is responsible for designing, testing, and developing technology for environmental control/life support systems and active thermal control systems for spacecraft and extravehicular crew members, as well as crew equipment and spacesuits for extravehicular activity (EVA) and other hazardous environments. Amy Ross, CTSD team leader, assigned Dana Valish as my mentor. It was Valish who oversaw and assigned projects necessary for completion by the end of this summer term.
I contributed to several CTSD projects:
• Z-1 prototype spacesuit donning stand modification and stress analysis,
• Extravehicular Mobility Unit suit stand modification for use as a Z-1 donning stand,
• and assisted engineer Adam Korona with the advanced suit series Portable Life Support System (PLSS) line routing and the advanced suit series donning stand interfaces.
This opportunity helped me grow as a student by allowing me to gain experience and building rapports in the engineering world. I am grateful for the type of mentorship and commitment that professors at SAC are willing to contribute for a student’s success.
By completing this summer internship at NASA, I am now more convinced than ever about what goals I want to achieve and how to achieve them.