2018 NASA FSGC Ambassadors
The Ambassadors’ primary mission is to inform students at their home universities about opportunities available to them at NASA and the NASA FSGC. Their primary responsibilities involve communicating with space-related student organizations and participating in public outreach events. Ambassadors must have strong interpersonal skills as well as excitement for space exploration and STEM research. Here are the 2018 NASA FSGC Ambassadors!
Name: Sam Skinner
University : University of West Florida
In the simple sense of the word, an ambassador is a representative. However, a NASA FSGC student ambassador is so much more. I have witnessed while researching under supervision of Dr. ter Haar how prudent teamwork is to discovery, exploration and innovation. Even more significant, the opinions and thoughts of members from an interdisciplinary group to push curiosity and limits of what may seem impossible. With Dr. ter Haar’s guidance, I have learned resilience is pertinent to answering problems that appear unsolvable, and equally adaptability and passion. Becoming a NASA FSGC student ambassador would allow me to share this passion for embracing scientific investigation and exploration to fellow students. Not only would I be able to represent the core values and passion I share with others at NASA, but I would be an advocate for them. By sharing my experiences with NASA’s FSGC program, I hope to inspire others to become involved with NASA’s student programs in order to help develop humanity’s future in space exploration and add to the diversity of backgrounds working towards a common goal.
I search for the more invigorating fruits of research and academic labors. The world of science and understanding, I truly believe, has refined me in countless ways since my youth, and I long now only to return the favor. I dedicate myself to research, to close the gaps in reason, with the end goal of converting the Earth’s many mysteries into human understanding to prevent and replace the arduous hardships facing our daily, as well as eternal, existence. As an engineer, I plan to apply my invested knowledge and create systems or processes that will grow the human domain from the confines of one planet to the outreaching boundaries of possibility. I intend to join the industry, where I may inspire and educate those at around the world in hopes they will share my sentiment.
Name: Payton Barnwell
University: Florida Polytechnic University
Sharing my love of STEM and space is something that I try to do on a daily basis, and I am so excited for the opportunity to continue this though the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium ambassador program. With a major in Mechanical Engineering and a concentration in Nanotechnology, you would not think that I have much free time – and I don’t! What time I do have to myself is spent organizing and executing outreach events, researching through my Florida Space Research Program grant, and working on projects and events for ASTRO at Florida Poly. Although I am always busy, I would not want to spend my time any other way! My current plans for the future include continuing my education to receive a PhD in Bio-nanotechnology, and working to make space a sustainable place to live and explore.
Name: Izabella Maxfield
University: Florida Institute of Technology
One of the amazing things about attending Florida Tech is that I am surrounded by people who are just as excited about space as I am. I can guarantee that any time there is a rocket launch, meteor shower, or other cool space related event, there will be students gathering up their friends to find the best place to watch the event from. And who wouldn’t be excited for these kind of things? Space is the next step in exploration and discovery, and it is so vast that it provides endless opportunities. Space promises a great and fruitful adventure that I cannot ignore. This is one of the reasons that I want to be a Space Grant Ambassador for my school. I want to be able to take the excitement the students already have for space and increase it and I want them to know of the opportunities that await them at NASA and with NASA FSGC.
I believe that in order to pursue scientific progress, we cannot simply chase our own passions—we have to promote those of our peers as well. As the Florida Space Grant Consortium Ambassador for the University of Miami, I would help undergraduate students to find early avenues for their STEM careers. Already, I have experience in both scientific and educational opportunities. Having gone through the OSSI system several times for both internships at Goddard Space and Flight Center and their aeronautics undergraduate scholarships, I would be able to advise students about how best to approach those types of applications. However, even more importantly than promoting such opportunities, I can also teach students how to independently turn their passions into reality.
I will never forget my fourth grade teacher’s eyes when I told her I wanted to be a “Physicist.” Apparently, when you ask most kids what they want to be when they grow up, you usually get “Ballerina!” or “Fireman!” but not me. No, I was different, and her mouth couldn’t have said it any better than her hopeless eyes did. It was at that moment that I realized how differently her and I saw the world. You see to me, this world was an exciting place full of wonder and opportunity. My imagination ran wild, as I was surrounded by places to explore, oddities to find, and an infinite bound of possibilities waiting to be created. To me, there was no dream too big, no job too absurd. Science quickly became everything to me. Science made me believe that I could do anything, and understand everything.
After graduation I hope to work with unmanned space missions, continuing my current work and experience with robotics and aerial systems. I also want to continue working with FIRST and SWE to promote STEM education and research, particularly for middle and high school students.
Almost every child in one point in their life has said they wanted to be a rocket scientist when they grow up. I never imagined that was a possibility for me to work towards. After going through several hardships while living in California I have realized that truly nothing is impossible. Through hard work, dedication, and resilience, a person can beat the odds and dream big dreams like becoming a rocket scientist someday. There have only been a few instances where I knew as soon as I got out of the car that I had an epiphany; this is where I am meant to be. Walking through the Kennedy Space Center has been one of those few instances.
Within its 57 years of existence, NASA has brought many opportunities, improvements and advances in many fields primarily in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). During the year 2011, I had the honor to be part of this elite team during an internship at the John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. This two month experience not only gave me a closer look at what this magnificent agency does but, it also allowed me the opportunity of discovering that this is where I would like to profess my career.
FSGC Ambassadors must hold U.S. citizenship to be eligible to request travel funds for various conferences and workshops within the continental U.S. Ambassadors will have the opportunity to attend various conferences, workshops and to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to meet with NASA scientists and engineers. Ambassadors from Florida universities are expected to meet every two months via internet video conference with a FSGC representative to be updated on various NASA opportunities.
To apply for a position, students need to complete the following documents:
- A one page essay describing why they want to be an Ambassador and how they would promote NASA opportunities at their university.
- A Resume/Curriculum Vitae.
Once materials are completed, students must submit the application materials in PDF format to Dr. Jaydeep Mukherjee (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Ideally, the applicant should be enrolled in classes at their university for at least one year from the date of being appointed a NASA FSGC Ambassador.
The NASA FSGC is funded by a training grant from NASA and only US citizens are eligible for direct support from FSGC. Therefore, the student must be a US citizen if they wish to apply for travel funds. If the student is not a US citizen, he or she can still be selected as an Ambassador, however, they will not be eligible to apply for travel funds.
Please note that being an Ambassador does not guarantee you travel funds. Requests for such funds will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis by a FSGC representative to see whether the request fits FSGC’s criteria (presenting or not presenting, topic of presentation, nature of conference, time frame, etc.).