Student Features

Denisse Veronica Aranda
Denisse Aranda portraitDenisse Veronica Aranda. Image Credit: NASA.
  1. Which NASA program did you participate in prior to the Ambassadors Program and what was your major project for that program?

    I participated in NASA Glenn Research Center's Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) as well as the Space Academy at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. and as the ARES IX Technical Assistant to Mission Manager Bob Ess at Kennedy!

  2. What are you majoring in and what college are you attending?

    I graduated this past spring with my bachelor's in Mechanical and Materials Engineering with a minor in Mathematics from Florida International University in Miami, Fla.

  3. What are your career goals? Are they with NASA?

    My career goal is to contribute to the amazing goal of Americans exploring the depths of the cosmos via robots or humans! My dream has always been NASA and it continues to be my goal.

  4. Why did you choose to be a NASA Ambassador?

    My mentor, Dr. Fran Hurwitz nominated me. I applied and was selected.

  5. What are your future goals in the Ambassador Program and what are you looking forward to in the program?

    My goal for this program is to continue to inspire the American people to support NASA's amazing contributions to science, America and the world. I look forward to the many activities that we get to participate in and the possibility of becoming a civil servant.

  6. How has interning and being an ambassador at NASA helped you?

    Interning has been an absolute necessity to becoming an ambassador! Ambassadors were chosen based on their experience and passion for NASA. The more experience you have with the agency, the more you understand the culture and the importance of the work that they do.

  7. What events are you looking forward to in the Ambassador Program or what events have you attended that sparked your interest?

    I have participated in the Nobel Peace Prize Outreach and Summer of Innovation with Mr. Gilmore and Leland Melvin. The Summer of Innovation is an educational outreach program to help inspire students in STEM fields.

  8. What advice would you give to aspiring students who want to participate in the many opportunities NASA offers?

    BE PERSISTENT!! Many of the great things that NASA has to offer take several tries to obtain and require someone with a resilient spirit.

  9. What have you experienced at NASA that stood out to you the most?

    ARES IX without a doubt!!! It was the best experience of my life. I was the ARES IX Technical Assistant to mission manager Bob Ess. I worked directly for the Mission Management Office. I was able to participate in everything ranging from authoring the Hurricane Protection Plan for both ARES IX and the space shuttle (since they were both out on the launch pads), participating in the stacking of the vehicle, organizing the Flight Test Readiness Review, writing the weekly report to Constellation Program Management Office (CxP), and finally being in the firing room for the launch of ARES IX in October 2009. I learned so much on what it takes to conceptualize, design and build a rocket. I learned so much on leadership and teamwork that this experience will resonate in my mind forever!

  10. How are you going to motivate students to pursue a career related to STEM? What motivated you?

    The culmination of these experiences provides me with a unique platform to speak on behalf of NASA and private citizens who are committed to space exploration. Having worked in areas ranging from material science laboratory experience to the ARES IX launch vehicles, I can speak on behalf of different centers and divisions of NASA. One thing that I have learned is that enthusiasm and excitement are contagious. As a NASA Ambassador, I could articulate a compelling argument for the relentless pursuit of the NASA mission: to improve life here, to extend life to there, and to find life beyond.

-Reported by Aaron M. Greene, LERCIP intern

-Edited by Tori Woods, SGT Inc.
NASA's Glenn Research Center