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It's a scene that almost worthy of a movie -- Alexiou Gibson's sitting a final at Palm Beach State College to complete his associate's degree program, his phone rings during the exam -- NASA is calling. He had applied for an internship in their space technology department. Should he get up and leave the room to answer the phone and forfeit his grade, or does he answer the phone? Plus his voicemail isn't working. What a quandary.
Gibson finished his exam and then called NASA back. When he did, he got through to the main switchboard but was now stuck with trying to figure out which one of the hundreds of NASA employees had tried to contact him. He couldn't possibly figure that one out. He then made a mad dash to his cell phone company to have his voice mail repaired and was finally able to retrieve the message that said: "This is Heather from the Johnson Space Center, we called to see if you're still interested in interning with us." He definitely was, especially as he had applied for a full-time internship, had been accepted and a week later faced a let down due to a lack of funding, which meant they could not bring him on anymore. He was told to reapply again for the summer. Gibson did just that -- and the second time was the charm.
When NASA came calling again they did not just want the 25-year-old for the Johnson Space Center in Texas to program chips, they were sending him to Washington D.C. for a four-month internship in NASA's space technology department. He would work with the communications team, and mostly on NASA's community outreach and education efforts. He would help NASA develop PowerPoint and audio-visual presentations.
Gibson was selected out of the 25 students that applied for the position. With funding in place he was also able to receive a $10,400 stipend from NASA to cover his airfare, housing, food and living expenses.
This will be Gibson's second NASA internship. In 2011 he spent three days at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where he got to work with engineers and physicists. He was one of 48 students that participated in the National Community College Aerospace Scholars Class of 2011 program, where he participated on a rover robot design. Gibson was named procurement manager for his team, charged with the responsibility to ensure that his team stayed within their allotted $125 million to build their prototype and with the responsibility for managing all of the robot's parts. As procurement manager, he presented his team's report to the NASA board once their robot rover was designed, and convinced the board to choose their design over the other three teams.
"One of the main reasons I got this call they say was because I did an exceptional job at the three-day rover building project. They said I did really well and they liked the way I carried myself and the way I spoke, the way I handled things and led through delegation," said Gibson from Gainesville where he now lives.
The collegiate junior who is studying towards a Bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering starts work at NASA on Tuesday, January 22, and hopes that after his 15-week stint (until May 3), he will leave a lasting impression that will get him invited back again.
"I'm hoping to take away from this internship networking with White House and NASA officials, and I definitely want to leave a lasting impression where I would be invited back. Experience-wise this would be the ultimate. I'm just hoping it opens more doors for me and scholarship opportunities so that I can keep attending school."
The junior at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, is paying for his tuition out-of-pocket. He applies everywhere for scholarship opportunities, because he said sometimes he does not know how he's going to make it through each semester.
During his NASA internship, Gibson will also be given the responsibility of mentoring sixth graders. It's a task he's up to. He's had to overcome a number of obstacles. He battled weight issues all of his life and at his heaviest, he tipped the scales at 520-pounds, and suffered with depression and low self-esteem. Today he weighs about 200 pounds.
"I'm looking forward to mentoring those sixth graders, and if I can help anyone believe in themselves and know that they can push through anything if I could, that's like the ultimate gift for me," he said.
Gibson said he also has a writer interested in penning a motivational book about his life from his perspective.
Gibson, the son of Mavis Smith, a station manager for Bahamasair's Fort Lauderdale, Florida office was born and raised in Freeport, Grand Bahama, where he lived until age 10, before he relocated to the United States.
Nineteen year-old Terran Arnold of Nassau, Bahamas has arrived in California for his summer stay as an intern with the Education Associates Program at the Flight Trajectory Dynamics & Controls Branch of the Aviation Systems Division at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Ames Research Center. In recognition of his outstanding potential, Terran was selected for an Aerospace Engineering internship under the mentorship of Ms. Aisha Bowe, an award winning Bahamian-American engineer working at the Aviation Systems Division at NASA Ames Research Center in Northern California.
CALIFORNIA – Aisha Bowe, a Bahamian-American engineer who at the beginning of 2012 won the 21st Century Trailblazers Award for Aerodynamics and Aviation and Outstanding Technical Contribution at the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) Aerospace Conference in Los Angeles, has received yet another award. Bowe will receive the prestigious National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA, Honor Award for Equal Employment Opportunity.
Tribune Staff Reporter
BAHAMIAN scholarship student Vardo McKenzie has not made it to the moon as yet, but he has been closer than most.
This summer, the 18-year-old Exuma native made his mark on the scientific world as a NASA intern at the Florida Space Grant Consortium and Kennedy Space Centre.
There, he worked for two months with a number of world-renowned scientists on a number of projects.
"Vardo was one of the best interns I had, far better than some of the college interns," said Dr Jaydeep Mukherjee, director of the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium.
"He started his internship by participating in a high altitude ballo ...
TWO Bahamian students can apply for the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to spend a summer at NASA this year.
Eight-week summer internships are being offered for two qualifying students to work at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This programme is presented through the Alf Thompson Memorial Scholarship (ATMS).
Successful applicants will work with research scientists and engineers from academia, NASA and corporations in the fields of aeronautical studies, biological sciences and/or space-related technology.
The internships are being offered to motivated students "in good standing", between the ages of 18 and 23.
Scholarship recipients must be enrolled in a recognised college or hig ...
Nineteen year-old Terran Arnold of Nassau, Bahamas has arrived in California for his summer stay as an intern with the Education Associates Program at
the Flight Trajectory Dynamics & Controls Branch of the Aviation Systems Division at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA Ames Research Center.