Posted by: edwardasare | August 7, 2013

Day 67

The first Monday of every month, the Flight Software Systems Branch holds an hour long, branch meeting to analyze the performance and discuss any pending issues concerning the branch. The format of yesterday’s meeting was a little different. Two other interns and I were each given the opportunity to conduct 10 minute presentations on what we accomplished during the 10 week period. Prior to the meeting I believed my confidence level was high because I was under the impression that I had prepared adequately for the presentation. At the start of the meeting I was a little uneasy due to the large turnout at the meeting. Nevertheless I considered it an opportunity that would polish my public speaking skills.

First up was Brandon DeCoursey, who sits within arm’s reach of my work area, and he presented his project on Charged Coupled Devices. Next in line was Bryan Barrows whose presentation was on cutting edge technology that would use Contrast Limited Adaptive Histogram Equalization to enhance vision during flight. I was under the impression that I would bore the audience with my presentation because it was not as technical as Bryan’s or Brandon’s. Surprisingly that was not the case. I introduced myself, stating my name, school, grade and major, then went along with my presentation.

My project was more on the administrative aspect of the Branch’s projects and dealt more with the software needed for efficient workflow and process management. There were not that many questions asked and that proved to me that the details of the presentation had been successfully relayed. The acting branch head, Dave Haakenson, expressed how grateful the branch was to have the interns here this summer. In addition to that, judging by the positive feedback after each of our presentations I can state that they were successful, and I believe the branch members were impressed with the effort put in by the interns to jump on board and accomplish this amount of work. It is always satisfying when your effort is acknowledged.

Posted by: edwardasare | July 26, 2013

My role at NASA Langley

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Another productive week has gone by and I am left with 88 more hours of my interesting internship experience. Earlier this week, I was given the opportunity to test my mentor’s product using the software that my project is based on. The product I was testing was a software maintenance plan. My task in this test was to create a project, append the peer review process to the project using the software package, and conduct an overview meeting with the participants of the software maintenance plan product. The main purpose of the test was to verify that all the users received automated email notifications through the software, informing them of tasks they had been assigned to.

The meeting took place two days ago and after my mentor had described the structure of the product, my task escalated into presenting a training session on how to use and access the software package. This was not your usual college course presentation in which you stand in front of your peers, deliver your presentation, and answer any questions that were raised. This demanded a little bit more effort because I had to ensure that the people involved understood the purpose of the software and its relevance the branch.

Fortunately, the questions directed to me were not too difficult to handle. Thankfully I had walked my mentor, Keith Boadway, and my cubicle mate Brandon DeCoursey, through the presentation and both were present to help if my response to certain questions were not exactly clear. During the training session, I realized how I had become so familiar with the software to the point where I could not recall that I had once asked the same questions concerning the software, that I was being asked.

Today as I am typing this out I am scheduled for another training session with the head of the Flight Software Systems Branch. This takes me back to the first three weeks of me being here and how my mentor had once told me that although the project would seem boring, it was important for the branch to go ahead with it. Not only does it feel good to have my work recognized at the branch level but contrary to what my mentor said, working on this project has never been boring.

Posted by: edwardasare | July 18, 2013

Trip to Goddard Space Flight Center

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Two days ago, 98 of the 235 interns were given the opportunity to visit the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Greenbelt, Maryland. I was lucky enough to be one of them. I was surprised by how much I learned from a 16-hour day trip to another NASA center.

The first portion of the GSFC trip included a talk on evolution of the Hubble telescope. Hubble is one of many successful NASA missions and it was launched into space in 1990. It was created at the GSFC with the help of other NASA centers. Learn more about the Hubble telescope at: http://hubblesite.org/

We moved on to a science exhibit where there were posters displayed about various projects at GSFC. These posters contained enough detail about the projects that I barely had any questions to ask. I was fascinated by the ability to test the project ideas using models handled by interns and workers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The trip was concluded with a tour of Goddard’s clean rooms, Thermal Vacuum Chambers and High capacity centrifuge.  The clean rooms house the instruments and parts used for manufacturing and research within a controlled level of contamination. The Thermal Vacuum Chambers vary in size for different purposes and can reach temperatures ranging from -235 to 235 degrees Fahrenheit. The High capacity centrifuge is used to spin test the satellites, spacecrafts and surprisingly, the sports utility vehicles of some of your favorite car manufacturers – something I would have never guessed.

One significant aspect of the tour, in my opinion, was hearing that missions conducted at Goddard are always started and completed there. However, their success comes from combined efforts of multiple NASA centers. Being a sports enthusiast as stated in my first post, I can relate NASA to a soccer team which requires ten field players to compete because NASA has 10 field centers. It fascinates me that NASA believes “teamwork makes the dream work.”

Posted by: edwardasare | July 10, 2013

Who am I ?

I am Edward Asare, a rising junior majoring in computer science and minoring in business management at Wilkes University. I was born in Boston, Massachusetts but was raised in Accra, Ghana. I consider myself a sports enthusiast who participates in soccer at the collegiate level and many other sports just for recreation including: basketball, Ping-Pong, volleyball, and tennis. My urge to constantly feed my brain has revamped a passion for reading and photography. My immediate future goal is to pursue a master’s degree in mechanical engineering to broaden the variety of career opportunities available to me.

 

Posted by: edwardasare | July 1, 2013

The NASA experience

It’s not very often that one gets to brag about working for the best Federal Government Agency. NASA was selected as the best place to work in the Federal Government by the Office of Personnel Management’s 2012 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey. The reason why I am not surprised by this selection is simple: even though NASA is the first Federal Government agency that I have had the opportunity to intern at, I don’t think any other job opportunity can top how tremendous my first four weeks have been. Let’s just put it this way, NASA sets the bar extremely high.  

I am an intern in the Flight Software Systems Branch at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. Don’t be quick to assume that all I do is sit behind a computer screen for eight hours a day, five days a week. Prior to working here I was under the same impression. To cut things short, this is not your everyday desk job. I am beginning my fifth week and I already feel as if I have been here five years too long. The myriad of activities I have been involved with (code testing, product testing, branch meetings, and many more) have been very insightful.

Since I am new to Hampton, people often question why I moved here. The response I receive when I tell them I am an intern at NASA is always the same: “you must be a genius then”. I find it funny because I never put myself on such a high pedestal. However, I have realized that as with sports, when you play on a team with players that are equally as good as you are, or even better, your performance increases. The point I am driving at is that my branch colleagues have had a positive impact on how productive and efficient I am. Everyone in the branch is always ready to contribute to the success of your task whether through advising you on how to go about your task or providing materials that may help you complete it.

A typical day working at NASA in my opinion is fun filled yet challenging with enough tasks to keep you occupied. At the end of the day when the clock hits the 4:29 mark, I rarely find myself thinking about what I am going to do when I get home; instead it’s always thoughts about what the next day holds. Everyday is a different experience that I look forward to and that makes me really enjoy my time here at NASA. 

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