Student lands Miracle NASA internship

“By Andrew Shroades news@buchtelite.com Tanya Miracle, currently a junior in the Chemical Engineering Department spent five days in Orlando, Florida this summer. Rather than going for vacation or fun, she was there for a program at the Kennedy Space Center called Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology leadership symposium, or MUST.”

Tanya Miracle, currently a junior in the Chemical Engineering Department spent five days in Orlando, Florida this summer. Rather than going for vacation or fun, she was there for a program at the Kennedy Space Center called Motivating Undergraduates in Science and Technology leadership symposium, or MUST. The symposium was part of a program called the NASA MUST scholars program that awards scholarships and internships to undergraduates in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It focuses on serving students from underserved and underrepresented groups.

The NASA MUST scholars program annually supports about 100 undergraduate students with a competitive scholarship of one-half of tuition. Students in the program who maintain the required grade point average are eligible for a paid internship at a NASA center of their choice. This past summer, Tanya Miracle was one of those students. Out of a field of more than 750 applicants to the program, she was one of 60 chosen to participate in the program. Almost everyone there was from schools like Harvard, MIT and Columbia. Big Names, said Miracle.

During the symposium, which was from Aug. 12 to Aug. 16, Miracle and the other NASA MUST scholars attended leadership seminars and training, learning various things from writing curriculum vitae, applying for graduate school and being trained in personal finance by a CNN economic analyst. They also were given a behind the scenes tour of the Kennedy Space Center, getting to see many things that the average tourist would not.

Next summer, Miracle will have a paid internship at the NASA facility of her choice. During the five days at the symposium she got the chance to interview the points of contact at each of the NASA facilities and find out what kind of research they do at their respective facilities. Her first choice is The NASA Glenn Research Center.

For the internship, Miracle will be involved with a current project that NASA is working on and will find out which project in May. She will be doing whatever NASA needs her to do on the project. When talking about a past scholar Miracle said, One of the past students helped make a computer program that analyzes different data so that when they go back to the moon it’ll help them pinpoint where the perfect location and trajectory is to land.

Along with the scholarship and internship, the NASA MUST scholar program also provides a set amount of money to the scholars to be used for tutoring if needed.

Miracle applied to the program at the end of last year because it would be a great opportunity and because of the encouragement of Dean Haritos, dean of the Engineering College and Dr. Julie Zhao, director of the IDEAs program, Increasing Diversity in Engineering Academics. She said, Dr. Zhao supplied both encouragement and motivation to reach for things that I did not believe were attainable.

When she first applied to the program she didn’t give it much thought because of the enormity of the program and the small chance that she would get in.

If you see a national scholarship, don’t be afraid to apply, because I thought, ‘I’ll never get that. That’s a big scholarship,’ so don’t be afraid to apply. I guess just go for it, said Miracle.

In addition to becoming a NASA MUST scholar and gaining a NASA internship opportunity, Miracle is also a full-time student, tutors in the IDEAs lab and is also a mother of six.