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July 22, 2008

Dryden Flight Research Center
P.O. Box 273
Edwards, California 93523
Phone 661-276-3449
FAX 661-276-3566

Beth Hagenauer
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center

Summer at NASA Dryden 'INSPIRES' Student Interns

EDWARDS, Calif. - A number of Antelope Valley students exchanged what could have been a relaxing summer vacation for the challenge of fitting into the workforce at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center on Edwards Air Force Base.

The students were selected for NASA's Interdisciplinary National Science Project Incorporating Research and Education Experience, or INSPIRE. It is a multi-tiered program for students in grades 9-12 or in their freshman year of college. INSPIRE is designed to provide grade-appropriate NASA-related resources and experiences to encourage and reinforce students' aspirations to pursue science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, education and careers.

Three of the interns are seniors in local high schools. Paul Marshall, a home-schooled student affiliated with Desert Christian School, is tasked with working on a computer server that runs multiple operating systems. Quartz Hill senior Lance Genato is completing several computer-aided designs for aircraft modifications. Danielle Clarke, a Lancaster High senior, is interested in chemistry. She is using a NASA chemical tracking system to monitor the inventory and movement of hazardous materials.

An additional four NASA Dryden interns have graduated from local schools and are headed to college in the fall. Kaitlyn Cutler, a Quartz Hill High grad and soon-to-be freshman at California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo, has an interest in graphic arts. Cutler is laying out a monograph, a detailed and documented study of the people involved in the X-15 program.

Darcy Dewar is a recent graduate of Boron High School and will attend California State University – Northridge. Dewar is analyzing data for a software program that helps eliminate aircraft ground collisions.

Quartz Hill High graduate Teresa Thacker will join the freshman class at Antelope Valley College in the fall. Thacker is using historic supersonic and hypersonic flight data to develop a database that could be used to verify aerodynamic heating analyses.

Ricardo Fuentes is designing a piece of hardware for NASA's first Orion abort flight test mockup crew module. The Knight High School graduate, who will attend California State Polytechnic University – Pomona, has followed his task from design through fabrication.

The INSPIRE participants enjoyed several field trips, beginning with a tour of Edwards Air Force Base. The group visited NASA's Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex northeast of Barstow in the Mojave Desert and later explored the NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field.

The INSPIRE project requires participants to work a 40-hour workweek. In exchange, they receive a stipend and the opportunity to work with brilliant engineers and cutting edge technology.

PHOTO EDITORS: A publication-quality photo to support this release is available electronically at: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden/news/newsphotos/index.html

For more information about NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and its research projects, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden on the Internet.


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