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SHOOT FOR THE STARS Tracy Huang, a junior at Carnegie Vanguard High School, worked over the summer as a virtual NASA intern.
“We want to offer you a place at NASA’s Virtual SEES internship.”
As I read it, I screamed! It was the first month into the Covid-19 pandemic. In the middle of chaos, a glimmer of hope appeared inside me. For the first time since Covid-19 started, I felt safe and reassured. I was so excited to get a chance to work with other passionate STEM students, and I couldn’t wait to get started. Even though the internship was in three months, NASA had already sent out five courses for us to finish. After completing over 80 hours of python and space-science classes, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and pride. Little did I know, this was just the beginning of a long but exciting journey.
The primary purpose of the SEES (STEM Enhancement in Earth Science) program was to get a team and pick a Covid-19 space-related topic to thoroughly research and present to NASA at the end of the internship. After brainstorming, my eight-member team decided to focus on locating pathogens and other harmful bacteria inside of NASA’s spaceships by creating a UWB (ultra-wideband) anchor tag sensor to locate target areas of cleaning. I was the leader of the coding aspect, which developed a sample-data analysis graph using hypothetical data from the UWB anchor tag sensor to graph the modules in the spaceship that were the main targets for bacteria. Using the data from my sample-data analysis graph and a Python program called Dash, my team and I were able to locate the target areas specifically on the 3D model we developed, and accurately compare the modules to each other.
This experience taught me so much about the aspect of teamwork, computer science and engineering. Over 120 hours were put into this project for over seven weeks, and I felt a rush of pride as our team presented our presentation to NASA’s board members. I had a fantastic time at this internship, and I am so thankful I got an opportunity to meet wonderful teammates and mentors from NASA and UT at Austin.
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