Extra! Extra! Read All About It!
The cover of The Glenn Gazette

The Glenn Gazette includes a feature article on NASA's Constellation Program to return to the moon, a student's perspective on how to obtain a NASA internship and short bios about the newsletter staff. Image Credit: The Glenn Gazette

High school interns at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, were busy last summer designing components for experiments on the International Space Station, testing materials for future spacecraft, programming robots, and much more. A dedicated group of 10 took on the additional task of sharing their experiences with the Glenn workforce and potential future interns through the creation of The Glenn Gazette newsletter.

In the newsletter, students interviewed Glenn Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. and representatives from Glenn's Educational Programs Office; talked about how to obtain a NASA internship and interviewed several interns about their experiences; featured astronaut Michael Foreman whom students met at their orientation; and wrote about students' roles in NASA's Constellation Program that will return humans to the moon. Student involvement in Constellation included work on the Ares I and Ares V rockets that are being developed for the program.

"... Even summer interns from the college and high school level are all diligently working to perfect each and every minute detail comprising the Ares rockets," wrote Idaliz Báez, the newsletter's editor-in-chief. "Current summer NASA interns are using test chambers to reassure that the materials used for each stage of the Ares rockets can withstand the high temperatures and pressures of the atmosphere. Some are putting together databases, spreadsheets, and even schedules or timetables for the Ares I and Ares I-X (a flight-test version of Ares I) to ensure that the design and construction processes go smoothly."

The newsletter was produced by high school students participating in Glenn's Lewis' Educational and Research Collaborative Internship Program, or LERCIP, and NASA's INSPIRE project. INSPIRE stands for Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience.

LERCIP offers internships at Glenn to high school students, college students and secondary school teachers. The high school component provides an eight-week paid summer internship for current high school sophomores and juniors (entering their junior and senior years) who are interested in science, technology, engineering, math and professional administration.

Students standing in front of a spacecraft mock-up

The staff of The Glenn Gazette newsletter gathers for a photo in front of a mock-up of the Orion Service Module, part of the hardware being developed for the Constellation Program to return to the moon. Image Credit: The Glenn Gazette

The INSPIRE project centers around an online community and offers participants at the high school and college levels the opportunity to compete for grade-appropriate summer experiences at a NASA center.

Both projects support NASA's goal of attracting and retaining students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Glenn education programs specialist Darla Kimbro said the student intern newsletter is not a mandatory component of either project but is an option if students want to do it. "The newsletter is only produced when we have a committed team of students who are willing to collaborate together to produce it," she explained.

The purpose of the newsletter project is for the summer students to work collaboratively on a task outside of their summer work assignment. All of the ideas for content, art and graphics, and the scheduling and conducting of interviews is done by the students.

Kimbro said the newsletter offers summer high school interns an opportunity to develop skills in oral and written communications, computers, and leadership, and exposes them to multicultural and team-building experiences. It also provides the center education office with a student-produced recruiting tool to attract new students to NASA opportunities.

"The newsletter is then used as a marketing tool to recruit students for the high school internship program and to have a product which shows stakeholders the return on investment," Kimbro said.

Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. speaking to students

Glenn Director Dr. Woodrow Whitlow Jr. welcomes students to NASA's Glenn Research Center for their summer internships. Image Credit: The Glenn Gazette

She said the 2008 newsletter was particularly outstanding because of the guidance of another student, Maria Arredondo, a junior at Bowling Green State University who served last summer as the Educational Programs Office administrative intern.

"Maria facilitated the meetings, gathered information from the team, then would meet with applicable project managers for approval and concurrence," Kimbro said. "She also met with the publishing office to ensure the finished product was in compliance with NASA's CMR (Communication Materials Review) process.

"Best of all, I feel that the students created a professional-looking product which accurately shares their internship experiences from their points of view."

NASA will be accepting applications to the INSPIRE online community from May 1 to June 30, 2009. Applications for the 2010 internships with LERCIP will be available Nov. 1, 2009. Visit the project Web sites for the latest information.

Related Resources
The Glenn Gazette
Lewis' Educational and Research Collaborative Internship Program
NASA's Glenn Research Center
NASA Glenn Education
NASA Education Web Site
Astronaut Michael Foreman Bio   →

Heather R. Smith/NASA Educational Technology Services