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TI Employees Host Students From Los Gatos High School as Part of Job-Shadow Day
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TI Employees Host Students From Los Gatos High School as Part of Job-Shadow Day

On March 2, 2016, Dimitra Giannakopoulou hosted 14 students from Los Gatos High School as part of the High School’s first job-shadowing program. The purpose of the program is to give students the opportunity to shadow business or non-profit organization personnel in an area of potential career interest.

Prior to technical demonstrations, students were welcomed by Associate Division Chief for Mission Systems Dawn McIntosh, who gave an overview of the different types of work that we do in our division. Robust Software Engineering (RSE) Area Lead Guillaume Brat then described work performed in RSE.

Adrian Agogino gave an engaging presentation of tensegrity structures and robots, which stimulated a lot of lively discussions. Peter Mehlitz then gave an interactive demonstration of his Race environment for simulations of the National Airspace System (NAS). Students were able to use a flight simulator connected to Race and fly an aircraft within the NAS, which sparked great enthusiasm. Dimitra Giannakopoulou and Johann Schumann followed up by talking about aircraft collision avoidance and associated verification challenges.

The day closed with tours of the Synchronized Position Hold, Engage, Reorient, Experimental Satellites (SPHERES) Facility Lab and the Microgravity Test Facility, organized by Jose Benavides. This included presentations by Robert Hanson, Darryl William LeVasseur, Jose Cortez, and Ken Oyadomari.

The visit relied completely on the volunteering of time and effort from all the above employees, and from Guy Power, who helped Dimitra Giannakopoulou with the logistics. However, the prospect of inspiring young people and making them enthusiastic about pursuing fulfilling careers in the future is very rewarding. The impact on the students can be summarized from the messages that they sent Dr. Giannakopoulou, from which only a small sample is provided below:

“Thank you for all the time and effort you poured into making today as meaningful as it was. It was inspiring to see so many scientists, engineers, and researchers who were incredibly passionate about their jobs and the impact they have on the space odyssey and exploration initiative. I am walking away with a tremendous respect for NASA employees!”

“I wanted to thank you for giving me the opportunity to see what it is like to be an engineer at NASA and to get a look at the kind of work that you do. I was really interested in the presentations and am interested in applying for an internship at NASA because of the things I saw today. Once again, thank you for the opportunity.”

“I and the group are all so grateful of you for taking time out of your day to show us around the coolest research center in California! Once again, huge thanks and we hope to work there someday!”

“Thank you so much for leading the job-shadow day. I had a great time and learned a lot of useful things, particularly what it means to actually do research, which was previously a somewhat nebulous term to me.”

TEAM: Adrian Agogino, Jose Benavides, Guillaume Brat, Jose Cortez, Dimitra Giannakopoulou, Robert Hanson, Darryl William LeVasseur, Dawn McIntosh, Peter Mehlitz, Ken Oyadomari, Guy Power, and Johann Schumann

POINT OF CONTACT: Dimitra Giannakopoulou, dimitra.giannakopoulou@nasa.gov

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