National Native American Heritage Month – Karen Moore’s NASA Intern Story

National Native American Heritage Month – Karen Moore’s NASA Intern Story


My name is Karen Moore. I’m from a small town called st. Francis on the Rosebud Indian Reservation in South Dakota. I’m a
2018 environmental sciences graduate from Santa Clara University, which is
also on the reservation. I went to the American Indian Higher Education
Consortium Conference in North Dakota and I was in the NCAS competition
there for the rovers. I met up with Tory Johnson and Alex Grandin from the MAIANSE program at Goddard and they were like, “Hey, you did so well on your team you
should apply for this internship we have.” So I applied, stayed up till 2:00 a.m.
filling out the application. Didn’t think I was gonna get it, honestly, but you know,
at least I could say I tried. And then I got a call a few weeks later saying, “Hey, are you still interested in this internship down here in Virginia?” It’s
NASA; I wasn’t gonna say no. It wasn’t what I expected. I expected it to be
be a little more uptight and it wasn’t which is great. The first one was with
MAIANSE which is the program focused on tribal colleges and
universities and I was the communications intern for that. So I
helped to grow their Facebook group. I created a brochure for the MAIANSE
program. I did some interviews with other tribal college students that are at
different NASA agencies. This fall I was the Minority Serving Institutions (MSI)
Sustainability Initiative intern. Basically I collected data on the 700
and some MSIs throughout the country so that federal researchers can look for
MSIs to help them on projects. But the the whole contact information is
basically for NASA so that they can just reach out and get
someone. I loved it. I didn’t think I was going to. Like in May when I first came
down, I was like, “Yeah, I’m not gonna get too personally invested because it’s
gonna be 10 weeks and then I’m gonna go home and do whatever,” but I just really
got connected with the people here and I was a hot mess when I had to leave in
July and I was just over the Moon when they invited me back for the Fall. You
would be surprised by the things that you could learn in a short amount of
time. I would just highly recommend if anyone was like, “Should I? Should I not?” just
to do it. Yeah.

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