In 2007, Isabella Green, Trevecca senior and physics major, was sure she wanted to be an engineer. Now, however, her passion is space, and she landed an internship with NASA. It lasts from June 3-Aug. 9.
“Once I got to college, I took Physics I and II as a freshman, and I … realized that my passion was finding out why things work,” Green said.
Green took an astronomy class her sophomore year, which was taught by Dr. Huddleston, associate professor of physics. He described Green as being thoroughly interested in the class and noticed her pursuing research outside the classroom.
He says it’s unusual for students to be accepted to internships with NASA.
“We have students get really good internships, but never something like NASA,” Huddleston said. “She put a lot of work into it.”
Green also interned with Disney during the Spring 2018 semester. She worked in merchandise, but was also able network with the imagineers, which is what Disney calls their engineers. Green was selected to take part in a biannual engineering competition for students who want to be am imagineer.
Green says being an imagineer is one of her lifelong dreams, but after researching astronomy, NASA also became a dream job.
Interning at NASA has been challenging in the best way, Green says. She is part of a program at the Ames Research Center called Next Generation Scientific Data. While there, she has been helping build an app that will make information and updates from NASA accessible to all users. Green is in charge of building the app, which includes lots of coding.
“It’s cool to be at a company that inspires the next generation of thinkers,” Green said. “Not only that, but to learn things and put them into practice.”
Green said there are students from schools like MIT and Stanford but coming from a liberal arts university has helped her become more well-rounded. She also credits Trevecca for helping her prepare mentally. She has been able to apply what she learned in the physics program—such as programming skills, how to do accurate research, and how to be good problem solvers.
That’s a core strength of Trevecca’s physics and engineering programs, Huddleston says. Encouraging students to do research, even at the undergraduate level, is baked into the curriculum. Students are routinely immersed in research projects during their first year, which helps them build strong resumes and garner quality internships.
“We do a lot of things that not every physics program does,” Huddleston said. “It sometimes involves learning computer program languages, software, and learning how to use equipment that most students don’t learn how to use until graduate school, or in many schools not until their junior or senior year.”