NASA summer programs hope to create a needed generation of
Aeronautical engineers, scientists
A program designed to excite students about the aeronautics
industry, encourage higher education for math and science, and
provide hands on experience with current NASA projects is in its
15th year at NASAs Langley Research Center,
Hampton, Va. The successful Langley Aerospace Research Summer
Scholar (LARSS) Program is now being used as a model for a pilot
internship program starting this year at every NASA Center.
Ed Prior, Deputy Director of Education, credits the genesis of
the LARSS program to Education Director Dr. Samuel Massenberg: "Dr.
Massenberg wanted to bring undergraduate students to Langley
Research Center to raise their interest in the future of NASA, but
also to help them gain real-world experience in the areas of math,
science and engineering. That was fairly daring the first year he
did it because we were the first NASA Center to try that type of
This years LARSS program involves over 120 undergraduate
and graduate students.
These programs are designed to steer young engineers and
scientists into the fields of aeronautics math, science and
engineering. According to aeronautics industry experts, a shortage
of young skilled engineers may pose the greatest challenge for U.S.
Byron Callan, the first vice-president of Merrill Lynch
illustrated: "Some of the biggest problems that the U.S. aircraft
industry has gotten into resulted from the rapid hiring of
inexperienced workers." The LARSS program strives to provide
motivated students with this important experience.
Roger Hathaway, NASA Langleys University Affairs Officer,
further explains that the students chosen for the program need more
than just a resume.
"We are looking for students who are excited about the ongoing
research that Langley is involved in, but more important, students
who are excited about future opportunities to explore an area of
research that might be of great benefit to them - and to NASA."
"The program is competitive," admits Dan Moyers, a senior from
West Virginia University. "But once you get in, you gain access to
all the resources to conduct your research and you are guided by
the best research engineers in the world."
Ngan Huang, a rising senior from MIT, explains one benefit to
the participating students: "Its really important to be able
to jump out of the academic world into a project that can be
applied to real life situations. In school, we learn the
fundamental concepts. It is one thing to know the concepts, and
its another to apply them to real research that can be used
to benefit society."
For more information about the requirements, or to apply for the
LARSS program, go to: http://edu.larc.nasa.gov/larss/.
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