OT: NASA co-op opportunity for Michigan Engineers

Submitted by DualThreat on November 10th, 2015 at 1:50 PM

Let's keep UM owning space.

I am a UM alum and, besides this board, I don't really keep in touch with the alumni association or have any other Michigan connections.  I thought this was at least a decent way to get the word out to my Michigan brothers and sisters:

On Monday, November 16, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center (in Huntsville, AL) is going to post an announcement on USAJobs.gov asking for student co-ops (now called Pathways Interns) to start in summer and/or fall 2016.  However, this announcement will only be open for one day!  On top of that, only the first 75 applicants will be considered.

If you (or someone you know) is a Michigan engineering junior or grad student and are interested in NASA, go ahead and apply.  It would be best to establish an account on USAjobs.gov now to build a resume before Nov 15 so the "submit" button can be pressed on Nov 16.  Gotta be one of the first 75 applicants.

Zoltan is rooting for you.


UM Space


Monocle Smile

November 10th, 2015 at 1:59 PM ^

Word of advice for applicants...don't bank on this. NASA (well, anything on USAJobs) is notorious for taking forever to respond to applicants, so keep applying for other stuff.


November 10th, 2015 at 2:50 PM ^

I'll admit I'm a bit biased since I'm an airframe engineer, but I spent some time as a GSE (ground support equipment) supplier on the JWST program. NASA has a way of turning a 6-month program into a 3-year project. The amount of red tape we had to work through to get anything done can drive a man insane.

I've come across a lot of people with similar stories...spending X number of years just going to meetings, frustration with the slow place of projects, etc. Meanwhile, the couple of friends I have at SpaceX love it (though I hear it's somewhat like a form of indentured servitude).  

Space Coyote

November 10th, 2015 at 2:45 PM ^

I work in the Aerospace field and know a lot of people that work in a lot of different fields. Yes, NASA is not for some people; but I know plenty of people that worked at Space X for a few years and couldn't wait to get the hell out. Blue Origin, ATK, Virgin, Boeing, Lockheed, Aerojet, GE, Airbus, Rolls Royce, Air Force, NASA, etc. I can think of people at each of those places that really like their jobs and people at those places that really don't.

NASA does tend to be more systems engineering and/or program management these days, because that is what the funding dictates. But those guys/gals also still are involved in a lot of really cool and really exciting things. It also kills on a resume when you are looking for a job/grad school after undergrad, whether it's aerospace related or not. As an intern, NASA is a very cool place to work, because you spend a quite a bit of time seeing all the actual cool things that other people are doing, and you get to take that all in.

So I'm going to disagree with you on this one. Is it still a job? Absolutely, which means people aren't going to be super-pumped about going into work every day, it means some people will like it, some people will not like it. But it is not where "dreams go to die" and honestly, having been around the block and talked/worked with a lot of people, it's no less (nor more) exciting than most other jobs in the field.

I'd also encourage people to look at other jobs on USAjobs.gov. NASA is hiring right now, and because a lot of NASA is getting older, they are actually bringing in more younger people than they have in the past. So look into other centers as well. Plus, from my recollection, USAjobs always had some interesting jobs like "work in the desolate Alaskan tundra tapping conifer trees and spying on moosen". Those jobs always came with a grade level equivalent of about $30,000 dollars, but at the time it seemed like "Hey, if my life goes to shit between graduation and finding a job, that seems like a pretty good deal".


November 10th, 2015 at 4:47 PM ^

When my wife first moved to the US from Taiwan, she did so to study at a small school in Kansas. I regularly give her a hard time about that. Thanks for replying to my earlier question. I had a feeling it had something to do with schedules. Where I work, we do commercial and government space systems and the govt jobs can drag on and on. Some of that bureaucratic red tape is necessary, some of it should be streamlined.

Michigan Shirt

November 10th, 2015 at 3:38 PM ^

I worked in Houston for 5+ years working Sub-Contracts for NASA, specifically the OneEVA program. There are plenty in NASA that establish a culture of red tape just to keep themselves busy as most NASA direct employees don't have much day to day work outside of being an overseer. I cannot tell you how many people get so frustrated with the projects as they are always going to overrun cost and schedule, most of the time because NASA can't get out of their own way.

I will say that the products you produce are interesting and working with MOD on actual missions is amazing experience, but the shine wears off very quickly. This may all be my experience in Houston as there isn't quite as much R&D going on there, but the fact that everything is slow and there will always be setbacks that are not necessary is very frustrating.

I will also say that when Shuttle retired a lot of people in Houston were laid off. During this time many people were trying to find other jobs in the area, mostly Oil & Gas, and certain large companies would stay the hell away from any former NASA employees because they do not believe they can handle the increased work load that comes from high paced, profit driven environment.

An internship would probably be very helpful and exciting for sure, but I would agree with WitchitanWolverine that full time employment with NASA is not ideal. If you absolutely have to be in the industry there are sub-contractors that are probably better to be working for and may have a bit more work, but as someone who recently left the NASA "world", it as a lot more enjoyable.

EDIT: That being said, NASA would be a ton more enjoyable if they were to start allowing private companies lead the space race and if they were to stick to a lot more R&D. Essentially NASA designs the new space suit with their funding and companies like Boeing and SpaceX would then purchase these. There has been thought that this might be NASA's future, but not even NASA can really plan with all their funding swings.


November 10th, 2015 at 4:02 PM ^

Yeah, I'm going to disagree.  Worked systems engineering for an Earth Science sat, worked in Mission Control for the Shuttle, and now I'm doing strategic planning for our human exploration program to ultimately go to Mars.

I've had an opportunity to do things I could have only dreamed about here at NASA.


November 10th, 2015 at 2:16 PM ^

I am a software engineer and did the Co-Op at JPL in 2009. Good money to live in Pasadena for 10 weeks. If you have the chance DO IT. I automatically get an in-person job interview the second they see "NASA" on my resume everytime. Good experience, great for career and mine wasn't even all that relevent to CS.