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ODU Students Selected as Interns with NASA Langley Aerospace Research Program

Six Old Dominion University students will be working this summer as interns with the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars program at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton.

The LARSS program provides paid internship opportunities year-round for rising undergraduate juniors and seniors as well as graduate students, offering a hands-on research experience. The students work side-by-side with NASA's finest scientists and engineers who serve as mentors at NASA Langley.

The ODU students selected as summer scholars are Nathan Akers, a rising junior in mechanical and aerospace engineering in the Frank Batten College of Engineering and Technology; Jordan Petty, a rising junior who is transferring into the mechanical and aerospace engineering program; Dennis O'Connell, a rising junior in mechanical and aerospace engineering; Bryce Horvath, a rising senior in mechanical and aerospace engineering; Seth Berl, a rising sophomore in physics; and James Myers, a rising senior majoring in communication.

Akers and Petty applied to the LARSS program knowing it would enhance their knowledge and training in the field of mechanical engineering. Akers previously worked for NASA Langley and enjoyed the experience.

"This internship has been, and will continue to be, helpful because it is allowing me to work directly with current engineers," Akers said. "It allows me to learn valuable interpersonal and technical skills."

Hoping to gain valuable experience in a real-world environment, the students expect the LARSS program will provide guidelines for professionalism, academic knowledge and application of engineering principles.

"I hope this experience will allow me to better understand and visualize engineering problems that I will encounter in my future academic studies," said Petty.

Akers and Petty said they hope to work for NASA in the future.

O'Connell, who is from New Hyde Park, N.Y., met and talked with NASA employees who suggested he apply for the LARSS program.

"For the first time in my life I was literally talking to people who were living not only their dreams, but mine. It was unusual to hear people so excited about their job," said O'Connell. "It was stuff you only read in magazines or see on TV."

He plans to finish his thesis and graduate with a degree in aerospace engineering, as well as possibly earn a Ph.D. He would like to work in the aerospace industry and become a teacher.

This article was posted on: July 16, 2010

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