SNOW HILL — Six years after first offering Worcester County students the chance to intern at NASA, the program is still going strong and getting results.
At a budget review earlier this month, County Commissioner Judy Boggs announced that nine graduates of the county NASA Internship program have been hired as engineers for a variety of organizations, including the Navy and NASA itself.
“It [the program] started out with six students,” said Boggs.
Originally, the internship called for two students each from three different county high schools to spend a short amount of time working at NASA.
“We weren’t just looking for valedictorians,” said Boggs.
Instead, she said that the program’s main targets were students with ambition and a desire to learn.
According to Boggs, NASA was initially wary of allowing the students to intern, worrying that they might be too young and could wander around without direction. However, Boggs asserted that the students quickly proved those concerns wrong.
Now, six years after the original six students, the program has blossomed to approximately 35. The larger portion of that number remains area high school students. However, Boggs remarked that graduates of the program have begun returning even after moving on to college.
“NASA is growing their own engineers,” said Boggs.
Boggs went on to praise the program and the interns themselves.
“I’m absolutely humbled by seeing what our students accomplish,” she said.
Boggs also pointed out that the program imparted incredibly useful skills given the current job market and the general lack of talented engineers.
Given the success of the program and the potential to which students can be motivated, Boggs questioned what else the county could do to prepare young adults for the future.
“Maybe we don’t challenge students enough,” she said.
As for the future of Worcester’s NASA Internship program, Boggs expects the County Commissioners to continue providing support and hopes that the event will keep growing and expanding into similar programs.
“It doesn’t hurt to have NASA on your resume,” said Boggs.