As a first-generation Centre College student from Barbourville, Kentucky, Sarah-James Miles ’19 is launching a future career in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) during a summer internship at the NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.
Miles, the only female intern among three other student interns from New York City, San Diego and Houston, is working to develop an immersive, four-day engineering camp for rising ninth graders to capture interest in STEM.
“I wanted this internship because I love STEM, and I love doing education and public outreach programs for members of the community,” she said.
Not only has Miles been able to create a STEM camp, during a week in June, but her intern group also had the opportunity to attend Rocket Week at Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, where they built and launched rockets. “We designed, built, programmed and integrated a payload with sensors to collect data from a flight by a Terrier-Improve Orion sounding rocket (sub-orbital),” Miles said. “The sensors detected and collected data from humidity, temperature, radiation, pressure, acceleration and orientation of the rocket.”
The intern group was given three days to complete the experiment before launching. When the rocket was launched, the flight was 72-miles upward with a landing in the Atlantic Ocean.
Miles explained how the data analysis followed and the results of the experiment supported their hypothesis regarding the different measurements.
To prepare for this opportunity, Miles was able to pull together skills and information she’s learned in previous internships and summer programs.
Before her NASA internship, she was involved in various summer activities throughout her high school and early college career that allowed her to observe different ways of managing a camp. As a physics major, she gained the technical background needed in order to incorporate STEM.
Miles has also been able to use skills she gained during her internship last summer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory working with 3D design work.
Miles ultimately would like to do something similar to this program after Centre. She hopes to earn a degree in education or business in graduate school in order to further her career in STEM in a less-technical way.
by Kerry Steinhofer
July 11, 2017