Jason McCracken traveled nearly 50 hours from Montana to "blow the minds of the youth."
An education intern from Montana State University, McCracken will spend the summer at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
McCracken joins nearly 400 students interning at Goddard, selected from approximately 6,000 high school, college and graduate school students, as well as educators. Participants will gain real-world experience while working on current NASA projects and missions. During their internships, students will have the chance to meet scientists, technicians, engineers and even a Nobel laureate.
First-time intern Joel Strothers, from Brooklyn, N.Y., will spend his summer studying heliophysics, the study of interactions between Earth and the sun. However, Strothers hopes to take away more than just experience and information on the sun.
"I want to … find my niche in the NASA community," he said.
Not every intern is new to Goddard. Brandt Schwer, a junior at the University of Maryland, is a returning mechanical engineering intern from Riva, Md.
"I worked on this project two years ago," Schwer said. "It will be interesting to see how far the project has progressed. I want to gain experience that I can't from the classroom."
The projects are not the only things that have come a long way.
Goddard is in Greenbelt, Md., but interns come from around the world to join the nation's largest grouping of scientists and engineers. Omar Salama, originally from Egypt, graduated this past year from The Ohio State University.
"I want to learn more than I ever hoped," Salama said. Salama measured soil patterns as part of a NASA project, and was asked to intern at Goddard this summer.
The poster session at the beginning of August is one of the highlights of the internship program at NASA Goddard. This event allows the students to present the projects they will have worked on for nearly 10 weeks to Goddard employees.
The main intern session is set to conclude Aug. 9.