LHS junior to intern at NASA-funded SEES program

A junior at Liberty High School is looking to do big things in Texas this summer.

Jayla Edwards, who plans to be an aerospace engineer, was selected for the Student Enhancement in Earth and Space science summer internship.

A students holds a media release about her entering an internship programOnly 95 of the nearly 2,000 applicants from across the nation were selected for the competitive program, which will run July 8-22 at the University of Texas at Austin’s Center for Space Research.

SEES is a collaborative effort of UT/CSR and NASA. The internships are organized around an aerospace or space science theme drawn from NASA’s diverse engineering and scientific research programs. The program combines the strengths of collaborators to enrich teaching and learning of STEM.

“The NASA SEES internship stood out to me because it allows high school students to work on issues prominent in actual NASA missions and gain valuable experience and knowledge that will be useful in college and in a career,” Edwards said.

The program pays for housing at the University of Texas for onsite teams, all meals, local transportation and has travel scholarships for those who can not afford the flight to Texas, Edwards said.

“We are all proud of Jayla’s accomplishment,” LHS Principal Derek Adams said. “We encourage our students to explore all options to further their knowledge, and this internship is a perfect example of that.”

Students will work with scientists and engineers to conduct authentic research from data received from NASA’s Earth-observing satellites as well as designing Mars habitats, lunar exploration and analysis of images from the International Space Station.

Students work remotely with their project scientist before the on-site internship, complete an Earth and Space Science course, and complete a Python coding course. During the two weeks the students will work at UT/CSR, they will conduct hands-on activities, field investigations, collaborate with NASA-funded scientists and engineers, and work on various NASA missions.

“I hope the program will provide me with the opportunity to gain the skills I will need in the future and give me a chance to see what kinds of things I will be doing in the future,” Edwards said. As part of the Mars Rover Resource Utilization Team, “I am very excited to be working on a project that is so similar to NASA missions that I desire to be a part of.”

It won’t be all work. The student will also listen to talks from scientists and engineers, visit the NASA Johnson Space Center, and go to an escape room, Edwards said.

“Our mission at Liberty is ‘to empower each student to contribute and thrive in a diverse community by pursuing their potential,’” LCSD Superintendent Dr. Patrick Sullivan said. “With this internship, Jayla embodies our mission and our Liberty Pride.”