Episode 4: Ashley Korzun

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Episode 4: Ashley Korzun
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This episode is a part of the NASA
Student Opportunities podcast series.

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Show Notes

Special Guest: Ashley Korzun, NASA Academy intern

(0:00) Intro

(0:21) Proposals for the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts Student Fellows Prize are due by April 16, 2007.
       NIAC Student Fellows Announcement  →

(1:10) Interview with Ashley Korzun. Georgia Tech doctoral student Ashley Korzun discusses the benefits of networking with people she met during her NASA Academy internship.
       NASA Academy Intern Profile: Ashley Korzun  →
       NASA Academy  →

(6:14) End

Send your comments or questions to: educationpodcast@nasa.gov

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Deana Nunley: This is NASA Student Opportunities -- a podcast connecting high school and college students with learning opportunities inside America's space agency.

Episode 4. March 7, 2007. I'm Deana Nunley. Thanks for joining us.


The NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts seeks to identify creative and innovative college students who possess potential for developing advanced concepts in the fields of aeronautics, space and the sciences. Each Student Fellow will receive a total of $9,000 for the 2007-2008 academic year. Minority, female and disadvantaged students are encouraged to respond. Proposals are due no later than April 16, 2007.

For more information about the Student Fellows Prize, go to www.nasa.gov/podcast, click on the NASA Student Opportunities podcast, and check out the show notes for this week's episode.


Ashley Korzun graduated last year from the University of Maryland with a bachelor's degree in aerospace engineering and started the Ph.D. program in aerospace engineering at Georgia Tech in the fall. I had an opportunity to talk with Ashley just as she was finishing her NASA Academy internship last summer.

Ashley Korzun: The NASA Academy this summer has been an unbelievable experience, so much more than I even thought it could be. It's meant to be a leadership development program as well as a regular internship. I benefit a lot from the original research project, our group research project, and the team building that comes with traveling to different NASA centers in industry and getting an inside view of how NASA really works from an organizational perspective.

In terms of the bonding between the students in the NASA Academy, it's phenomenal. The group dynamics are amazing. These are people that I'm going to be friends with long after the Academy is over and have an excellent network of people within NASA and the aerospace technical field and sciences after I'm done.

Deana: What do you like most about NASA Academy?

Ashley: The networking skills. The people that we've had a chance to come speak with us, and are hosted as dinner guests, and visited as we travel around the country have really provided amazing opportunities. The students in the NASA Academy itself, the rest of my fellow interns, that's a big part of what makes this such a great experience. That would be my favorite part -- the people.

Deana: Any thoughts on long-term benefits of your internship?

Ashley: The benefits I'm expecting from having participated in the Academy are the connections I've made through the Academy, through Academy alumni that currently work in industry and in NASA, the speakers we've had, the people we visited, and the network we've built. It's really a learning experience in terms of growing as a person and your interactions with people at a personal and a professional level. Aside from that, the research experience gained and the experience gained through the group project will help me academically as well as professionally.

Deana: What advice would you give students considering NASA Academy?

Ashley: It's a very intensive 10 weeks, and you have to be prepared for that and know what you're getting yourself into. It's not your regular internship where you work 40 hours a week and you have your evenings and weekends free. This is a 24/7 commitment. Everyone lives together, eats together and travels together.

In terms of applying, you need to have demonstrated interest in space, and this needs to be pretty much your desired and intended career path. It doesn't have to be in policy or operations. It can be in research, but you need to want to know how NASA works, how NASA interacts with industry, and be excited about the space program because you're pretty much going to be eating, living and sleeping "space" for 10 weeks.

Deana: Could you tell us more about your individual and group research projects?

Ashley: My individual research project is in the optics branch at Goddard Space Flight Center, specifically in technologies associated with optical alignment and testing for very high-precision alignment of spaceflight hardware on spacecraft and in test beds. [We] did a lot of hardware work and a lot of software work integration. Basically building a system up from scratch, putting it together, testing it, and aligning it. It's been a lot of really great hands-on experience in a field that's a little bit outside of my range of study.

Our group project this year for the Goddard Academy is designing a mission to Enceladus, which is a moon of Saturn that was recently discovered by Cassini to have geysers spewing liquid water off the surface. So we've designed a mission involving an orbiter and a lander for Enceladus to go investigate the source of these geysers, the composition of the planet, and, in a farther range, search for life.

Deana: You can find out more about Ashley’s research projects by clicking the link on our show notes page. Go to www.nasa.gov/podcast, click on the NASA Student Opportunities podcast, and go to this week's episode.


We'd like to hear from you. If you have any questions or comments about NASA learning opportunities, send an e-mail to: educationpodcast@nasa.gov

Thanks for joining us today.

NASA Student Opportunities is a podcast production of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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