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Summer isn't dull for SHARP students at NASA Dryden

By Beth Hagenauer
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Lucia Miranda (left) and Annie Hunter trouble-shoot computers at Dryden.
Lucia Miranda (left), and Annie Hunter participated in NASA's Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program by trouble-shooting computers at Dryden. NASA photo by Tom Tschida

Lucia Miranda, a senior at Paraclete High School in Quartz Hill, knew only the basics of home computer use when she began her summer internship trouble-shooting computers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center.

"I will take back to high school a new knowledge of computers and I want to study computers in college," said Miranda.

"Computers are not what I thought I would be doing this summer, but I love it," said Annie Hunter of Littlerock High School, who shares tasks with Miranda.

Miranda and Hunter are two of 10 students participating in NASA Dryden's Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP). The students represent six Antelope Valley area high schools. The apprenticeship is a eight-week, research-based mentoring program designed for students who excel in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and geography. The program's goal is to increase participation and success rates of students who are traditionally underrepresented in these areas.

Dryden engineer Starr Ginn began her career with NASA as a summer high school apprentice.

Student Catlin Level works with engineer Starr Ginn.
Catlin Level (left) worked for the Structural Dynamics Branch under the mentorship of Engineer Starr Ginn (right). Ginn was involved in this apprenticeship program 12 years ago. NASA photo by Tom Tschida

"I had no idea what I wanted to be when I grew up until the summer of 1992 when I participated in NASA's SHARP. I decided after that summer that I was going to be a mechanical engineer and work for Dryden." Ginn continued working in all of the NASA intern programs until her full-time NASA employment began in 1999.

Ginn is mentoring Catlin Level of Lancaster High School. Level is working in Dryden's Structural Dynamics Branch on an inflatable support system capable of lifting aircraft like an F-18. Level said that before his time at Dryden his focus was on mechanical engineering. His summer experience has provided an opportunity to observe other engineering fields for which he might be better suited.

To be considered for Dryden's program, students must be U.S. citizens, 16 years of age, attend school within a 50-mile radius, have an aptitude in science, mathematics or technology, and demonstrate an interest in pursuing a degree in those fields.

Additional information about NASA's Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program is available at: http://education.nasa.gov/nasasharp