2006-2008 Florida Space Grant, “Opened my eyes to the vast array of options available to me”  While I was attending the Florida Institute of Technology, the Florida Space Grant program funded my internship at the NASA Academy program in California at NASA Ames Research Center. This was a completely immersive program that included not only research, but leadership training as well.

Although the program definitely provided a number of academic and professional benefits, there was also a personal benefit. While participating in this program, I was one of several people who met their future spouse.

My specific role in the 10-week program was to examine Martian soil samples and determine their morphologies [?]. Additionally, there were several trips and tours included in the program that allowed our team to network with top leaders in the space aeronautics industry.
Just being around the like-minded, intellectually curious, and gifted students who were part of the Florida Space Grant was inspiring and helped to expand and develop my own areas of strength. It was also a wonderful opportunity to hone my leadership and teamwork skills–which paid dividends as I progressed through the program.

While completing my graduate work at UCLA, I chose to focus on space physics which only served to reinforce my long-term goal to work at NASA Goddard Space Center. Our cohort used 10 to 15 years of data gathered from satellites to conduct statistical analysis concerning the interactions of solar influences.

Though it was rewarding work, I am currently a software engineer in the healthcare industry, largely because of my husband’s profession, and am hopeful that I can eventually transition back into the space industry.

There is no question that the opportunities provided by the Florida Space Grant program opened my eyes to the vast array of options that were available to me. But more importantly, the program provided a network of connections and internships that enabled me to actually explore and pursue those options.

I was just very fortunate to benefit from a lot of great professional direction and advice and will always be grateful to the program.

Jennifer Kissinger
Sofware Engineer
Jack Russell Software