The Florida Space Grant Consortium is delighted to congratulate our former support recipients Andrew McDonald and Nathaniel Ambler upon their induction into the NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. McDonald, a former NASA Academy research intern at Goddard Space Flight Center, and Ambler, a former FSGC KSC intern, will both partake in this new venture in which NASA will attempt to draw closer connections amongst its interns and future employees via interactive technology.

“I was so excited when I got the news and I am really looking forward to spreading the word about the NASA’s programs and opportunities. I want to let other students know that they can do it too”, said McDonald, who recently completed a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Central Florida. His enthusiasm for science and his studies is infectious; it makes it easy to see why NASA has chosen him as an ambassador.

NASA has inducted more than 80 high-performing interns into the newly unveiled NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community. This first group of students includes interns from 35 states and 64 different universities. “As NASA prepares to develop and deploy a next generation of space vehicles, the agency requires greater depth of knowledge and pursuit of innovation than ever before,” said Joyce Winterton, assistant administrator for Education at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “To ensure success in meeting future exploration goals, NASA and the nation must adapt to the changing landscape and develop new strategies to cultivate its future workforce.”

Some of these new strategies include the use of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, & YouTube, to connect current NASA interns with one another and also to help them communicate with students who are interested in what NASA has to offer. “I think it is great that students will be able to use these sites to get good information from current NASA interns about what they are doing and how they got there. I believe it will raise NASA’s profile in the collegiate community”, said McDonald.

Members of the NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community will interact with NASA, share information, make professional connections, collaborate with peers, represent NASA in a variety of venues, and help NASA inspire and engage future interns. It is all about creating the channels in which communication can flow freely and immediately between NASA interns of both today and the future. With the center of these communication channels located at NASA Ambassadors Virtual Community website, students will now have a hub of reliable quality interactive information about NASA’s programs.

For more information about the NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community and to see an interactive map of the United States containing the names and schools of the 2009 Cohort I participants, visit: