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Working at NASA a Balancing Act for Jaime Medina
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Serial intern Jaime Toro Medina has learned the importance of balancing work and life.

Name: Jaime Toro Medina
Age: 26
Hometown: Puerto Rico
College: University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Position: Summer Intern
Code: Solar Physics Laboratory

What is most interesting about your role here at Goddard?

Every summer I have had a different yet interesting position. The summer of 2007, I worked with propulsion systems. The second summer, I worked in mechanical engineering. The third summer, I went to Engineering Robotic Boot Camp. This summer I am interning in heliophysics. I work in the lab and also an office using computer simulation programs. Teamwork is very important because everybody has similar engineering basics, but a design based on a combination of ideas from different team members is often better than one derived from the ideas of a single person.

Who is the most interesting, inspiring, or amazing person you have met or worked with at Goddard?

I admire Alfonso Stewart, who works in the Mechanical Engineering Branch. He showed me the different things NASA does. He taught me how to think out-of-the-box and to use every life experiences to develop ideas.

What event/activity/project are you most excited about at Goddard?

I enjoy a lot of the Science seminars about the universe, black holes, and the big bang. I also liked the tour where we were shown the satellites and telescopes being built on Center including the James Webb Telescope, the Robotic Refueling Mission for the International Space Station, and the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter for the Moon. I also really liked Goddard Day.
Jaime Toro Medina at January 2011's shuttle launch. Jaime Toro Medina at January 2011's shuttle launch. Credit: J.T. Medina

If somebody asked you, ‘What is Goddard,’ what would you tell them?

Goddard is a place where engineering and science are combined to study and understand our planet and the universe. Goddard’s missions advance knowledge about the universe and also help develop technology which can be used to improve our daily lives including our health.

Jaime Toro Medina enjoying rock climbing› View larger image
Jaime Toro Medina enjoying rock climbing. Credit: J.T. Medina

What makes Goddard a great place to work?

Goddard has a great variety of projects in which engineers and scientists work together towards exploring the universe and understanding our planet. Most of the projects are designed, assembled, and built in-house which really motivates the team members.

What lessons or words of wisdom would you pass along to somebody just starting their internship/coop at Goddard?

One of the most important lessons I have learned is the value of networking. Through networking, I have learned about different projects on which I may be interested in working on in the future.

Describe the atmosphere of your workplace at NASA Goddard.

Goddard has a friendly atmosphere where something new about science and technology is learned every day and everybody is proud of supporting a mission.

What are your hobbies outside of the workplace?

I like outdoor activities. I work out, play tennis, and bike. I recently took up rock climbing. I am also enjoying looking at the stars with my new telescope.

Do you have a favorite book, magazine, movie, or TV show?

I like science and technology books like The Science of Star Wars and The Elegant Universe. One of my favorite magazines is Popular Science. I always check the website for new inventions and information about space. I am a Star Wars fan too.

What mistakes have you made? What have you learned from them?

Sometimes, I focus too much on work and postpone enjoying life. I learned that it is important to maintain a balance between both.

Mention three famous people you admire and what you admire about them.

I admire my parents. They work hard to give me advice and help especially concerning difficult life situations. I also admire Albert Einstein. I use his quote, “Imagination is more important than knowledge,” as a guide at work. Sometimes you do not have the answer to a problem, but by using your imagination together with a little knowledge you can achieve great things.

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.