Jenna C. Maddix
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Toledo Native Completes Internship at NASA
HOUSTON — Not many students can say they completed an internship with NASA before graduating college. However, Toledo, Ohio, native Runa Lucienne did just that this past spring at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
Lucienne applied for the Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) after finding out about it when browsing the NASA website. She also had some history with NASA with the Summer High School Apprenticeship Research Program (SHARP) at the University of Michigan during the summer of 2005.
During her 15-week USRP internship, Lucienne assisted with upgrades to the Orion low-fidelity cockpit mockup for NASA’s Constellation program. This included designing and constructing struts for the mock-up, placing simplified representations of items on the forward bulkhead of the mock-up and creating stowage bay paneling. She also worked hands-on with the mockup that included crew evaluations and design refinement.
"Receiving the news that I was selected as a USRP intern to work at JSC was like a scene out of a movie," said Lucienne. "Three years ago I graduated from St. Ursula Academy and moved to New York City to pursue a career in modeling, acting and a degree in mechanical engineering. Adding NASA to my life’s resume is far beyond imaginable and has been a stepping-stone to understanding that anything really is possible as long as one has the determination and a positive attitude."
After having the opportunity to work at NASA, Lucienne hopes to be an influential role model in the community, especially for young women who may also have an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related fields.
Not only did this internship pose as a launch site for her career but also it provided Lucienne some unique opportunities to have fun doing things that are not your run-of-the-mill summer activities. One extracurricular activity she did while living in Houston was yachting on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Lucienne is attending the City College of New York where she is studying mechanical engineering. She plans to graduate in 2011 and hopes to fulfill her dream of solving global issues like hunger, draught and global warming.
The NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program is a mentored internship program that provides hands-on experiences in a technical environment. NASA USRP interns work on science and engineering projects that have real application among NASA’s core research focus areas.
To learn more about USRP visit: http://www.epo.usra.edu/usrp
For more information on NASA visit: http://www.nasa.gov
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