Giselle Payan, a senior in the Media Arts and Technology program is currently on co-op in Hampton, Virginia working for the NASA Langley Research Center as a Web and Media Development intern.
Payan applied for the co-op online through NASA’s internship portal, and was contacted for an interview. The co-op is 14 weeks, from January of 2016 through May.
As a Web and Media Development intern, Payan’s role is to revamp the look of the website as well as create, update and maintain content for the website. Her other duties include photography, graphic design and social media as needed. She works under the Systems Analysis and Concepts Directorate (SACD) at the Research Center, working to help the three primary branches of the facility (Space Mission Analysis, Vehicle Analysis and Aeronautic Systems Analysis) better communicate what the directorate does.
During the beginning of her co-op, Payan and her mentor sat down and made a project plan for the duration of her co-op. Her daily routine consists of creating graphics and CSS for the Langley Research Center’s website, and meeting with project leads to learn more about SACD projects and better learn how to convey them to the general public.
Coursework such as Webpage Production I and II as well as Team Project set Payan up for success for her co-op with NASA. Her skill set landed her the opportunity to experience a one of a kind co-op.
When asked what her favorite part of her job was, Payan said, “The whole center has amazing things going on, from the development of space habitats for Mars, to a testing of the Boeing Starliner crew module landing in water, the Langley Research Center has something going on every day. Their facilities and labs create a unique work environment and I love learning new things about NASA’s missions and seeing parts of their missions being worked on right at here at Langley.”
One of her favorite takeaways from her experience so far is meeting astronaut Suni Williams as well as seeing the Boeing Starliner crew module lifted hundreds of feet into the air and swung into the pool to test the capability of a water landing. You can read more information about the Starliner test described above here.
Payan’s advice for students currently in search of a co-op is to apply! “The worst they can tell you is no”.