A NASA internship definitely has its perks. Just ask meteorology major Lindsey Rodio. She spent her summer at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia as a climate science intern.
“I can’t wait to go back,” Rodio said. “I got to meet a few astronauts, the director of the Smithsonian and hear the roar of F-22 Raptors every day from the air force base.”
As a junior with a planned graduation date of 2018, Rodio spent her first two years as most students do – taking the required courses and learning all the basics of her field – but the NASA internship thrust her into the thick of it.
“I only knew basic stuff about meteorology, coding and the field,” Rodio said. “It was a hard transition but I adjusted fairly quickly, I’d say.”
During her ten-week internship she learned about convection, remote sensing and modeling and radiation budgets.
Rodio also worked on a project called the Amazonian Convective Diurnal Cycle.
“Basically I studied how convection changed throughout the course of a day by analyzing NASAs GEOS-5 (Goddard Earth Observing System Model, Version 5) and TRMM (Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission) data using the Amazon region as my test bed,” Rodio said. “My mentor worked on acquiring large data sets from mostly GEOS-5 and some from the TRMM satellite. My duties were then to read in the data using IDL programming software, breaking it down and plotting up data.”
She credits the decision to take a probability and statistics class a semester early with providing her the necessary skills she needed to be successful in her internship.
“The skills I needed for the summer were heavily statistical based more than anything,” Rodio said. “Taking probability and statistics a semester early paid off, to say the least.”
NASA Internship Made Her Wiser…Smarter
After her experience, Rodio is a strong advocate for internships.
“Interning definitely shaped who I am now. I feel like I’m a lot wiser, smarter and prepared to enter the real world,” Rodio said. “I got to work a typical, full-time job and work with amazing and intelligent scientists. I’m very grateful for my experience.”
For those who would like to try an internship, Rodio’s advice is simple – go for it.
“Work hard and don’t let anyone let you think you’re not good enough. I feared for a while that I wasn’t good enough for this opportunity but I stuck to my guns, worked hard to keep up a decent GPA and searched for any opportunity available,” Rodio said. “I now have that mentality that I should just go for whatever comes my way. The worst thing that can happen is that I will be turned down and I’ll get back up and try again.”