Student Features

Michael Stauber
portrait - Michael Stauber Michael Stauber. 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 was a LERCIP intern during the summer of 2009. My mentor was Angela Harrivel, and the project was centered on a laser technology called functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS). This technology was being used in a headpiece that would ultimately be used to monitor active and default modes of the brain in commercial and military pilots.

    I was focusing on two main aspects of the project: a) its design, which required it to be comfortable for long duration flights and functional, because we needed to have fiber optic sensors and detectors come in direct contact with the skin on a person's scalp; b) I worked with a fellow intern to find a game that could be used to activate the active and default modes of the brain in our subject while they would be wearing our fNIRS headpiece.

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

    I am majoring in biology and minoring in Spanish at The Ohio State University.

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

    It is my goal to attend medical school upon graduation. I have had numerous shadowing experiences with doctors, which have influenced me and made me interested in becoming a surgeon. I know that there are surgical doctors hired by NASA, so it is a possibility for me to eventually work with NASA after I earn my professional degree.

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

    I chose to be a NASA Ambassador because I worked with a former Ambassador last year and I saw how professional he had become in many different aspects and I wanted to be able to gain the same from the program.

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

    I want to be more involved with projects at NASA that are separate, but related to my own, and I hope to improve my presentation skills. I heard that it is possible for Ambassadors to participate in a trip to NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla. to witness a shuttle launch, so I am definitely excited for this if the rumors are true.

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

    The past and current internships have made my college studies seem more practical, I have become more confident in my abilities and I have learned how to be more productive when working with others.

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

    My advice for them would be to find something they are interested in that is scientific and practical, and to turn it into a hobby of some sort. For example, my dad (when he was around my age) became very interested in audio equipment and he began to take apart speakers, amplifiers and other equipment. He then related his hobby to his schoolwork and began studying electrical engineering. Now he designs MRIs.

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

    I have observed many scientists and researchers doing what they are most interested in. Observing someone work in a field for which they are truly passionate about is a very inspiring thing to see.

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

    I would tell them to go out and find something that is both intellectually stimulating and practical to learn. I would then suggest finding a professional who works in that certain field and to go observe them in their line of work for a day or two. Also, I would encourage having an open mind in life so that there is no fear in trying new things. I think it is very important to set goals that are demanding, but still attainable. Lastly, I think it's necessary to have a mindset that focuses equally on positive and negative things in life. That way, people can be proud of their positive accomplishments and they can learn from those that are negative.

-Reported by Aaron M. Greene, LERCIP intern

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