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Susan Hubscher
(757) 864-2961

Kim Land
(757) 864-9885

RELEASE NO. 01-085

For Release:   August 6, 2001

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 NASA’s 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 program."

This year’s 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. engineering fields.

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 Langley’s 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: "It’s 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 it’s 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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