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October 11, 2019

Internship provides out-of-this-world experience

Animation major Grace Merry was one of two CIA students to intern at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland over the summer. Her creative skills helped build scientific models for visitors learning about outer space.

Intern and visitor at NASA

Grace Merry helps a NASA visitor adjust equipment. (Photo courtesy Grace Merry)

By Elizabeth Wayne

What did your internship entail?

My official title was 3D Modeler for Holographic Display. I built 3D models of various spacecraft, which were then used for augmented and virtual reality programs used to educate visitors. I also did some video editing projects on the side.

What was the best part of your experience?

Definitely all of the people I met. I was lucky to work in a lab with nine interns when usually there’s only one or two. I became good friends with all of my co-workers, and we all hung out both during work and after.

Were there any unexpected aspects of your internship?

I honestly should have seen this coming, but I didn’t expect to be required at so many events at NASA. Because it is mostly STEM [science, technology, engineer and math] majors working there, Glenn Research Center holds a lot of conferences and presentations related to those majors. They weren’t super relatable to me, but I was still required to go. The upside, though, was that I got to create many sketches for other projects.

What’s one piece of advice for others seeking internships?

Never stop applying! Internships are posted all of the time, and applying to an internship doesn’t hurt anything. You may apply to 100 jobs and receive 99 rejection letters, but the chances of getting that one acceptance letter can only increase over time.

What’s one thing you learned about yourself through that experience?

I learned just how important it is to take care of yourself, especially when you’re depended on at a full-time job. I couldn’t stay up late because I needed to wake up early to leave for work, I couldn’t skip meals because I needed to be able to focus, and if I did something that exhausted my body, I needed to rest it afterwards. I wanted to be in top condition so I could do my work to the best of my abilities, and that meant adjusting my life as needed to be able to.

Meet Grace and fellow CIA NASA intern Sara Horoiwa on NASA's intern podcast.

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From starting a studio practice in Kansas City to being accepted into the Chashama artist’s residency program in upstate New York, Bianca Fields has been busy since she graduated from CIA last year. Catch up with her via this @artplugged Q&A. https://t.co/kVUO6Pjmxa

4 days ago via Twitter

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