National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Week 1

Monday, June 7th, 2010

The day finally arrived when they’d start their ten-week journey at NASA Glenn.  They weren’t simply interns….they were Glennterns.  Everyone woke up early, nervous and excited.  Ron, their operations manager, was pleasantly surprised when everyone was early to the lobby and they could leave on time.  Apparently the first day getting on base is the worst, so leaving early is a good thing.

The morning started out by having the Glennterns stand in line for what seemed like hours to have their pictures taken, their ID’s checked, and their temporary ID’s distributed.  Additionally, they had to sit through hours of speakers droning about the organizational structure at NASA, the rules of the network, lab safety, and the like.  Obviously, these things are important, but they probably could have been summed up in about 20 minutes.  At least everyone learned not to use personal thumb drives on site!

Lectures led them to lunch, where the Glennterns finally got to meet their P.I.’s.  Some Glennterns were taken out for lunch, some had lunch with their P.I.’s in the on-site cafeteria, while other were simply left to fend for themselves.  The afternoon was spent touring labs, meeting many people, whose names were lost within a few minutes, and reading to catch up on the current research. Ryan made sure to stand up while doing his reading, because you don’t want to fall asleep the first day on the job!  Finally 4:30 rolled around and their first work day was completed.

Upon returning home to their luxury accommodations, they had a few hours to relax, unwind, and nap.  Some of the Glennterns made their way across the street to Wal-Mart to get some food and supplies. Because most of the Glennterns flew in or drove from faraway lands, getting food was mission-critical. Apparently, a scare was spread through the area that the apocalypse was coming because the shelves at Wal-Mart were empty and according to Kylee, “It looked like the world was out of food.”

That night everyone went out for dinner as a group.  They were still missing one Glenntern, so they were full of questions, but left totally in the dark by Ron.  At dinner, they learned a little bit about each other.  For example, they learned that Robyn is a vegetarian.  They also learned that Kylee is gluten-intolerant because they had to wait for the Chili’s staff to bring her the only copy of their gluten-free menu.  Apparently the world is also out of paper and ink, because they couldn’t just print her off another copy of one…instead they waited.  It wasn’t a problem though, because they all seemed to be having fun.  As the bill came, the Glennterns were utterly disappointed that Ron or NASA didn’t pick up the tab.  Though Chelsey was excited to finally use her jumbo-sized pen to sign her slip!

After dinner Ron went to the airport to pick up Howard, whose flight came in late.  After that, it was time for sleep.  The Glennterns retired to their rooms and slept.  This was going to be an exciting ride. 

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010

The Glennterns got to leave a little later today, since they had guest badges to get them through the gate.  Today was what you’d expect to be a normal day at NASA…almost.  After spending their $4 on breakfast, an impromptu meeting was called where Ron introduced the program, what was to be expected, and what past NASA Academies have done.  He also made sure everyone knew not to be “THAT guy” through the summer.  This became the summer theme…not to be THAT guy!

 After the short meeting, the Glennterns each went their own ways to work with their P.I.’s for the remainder day.  Today the Glennterns also got to pick up their official GRC ID’s.  Surprisingly the pictures from the previous day looked pretty good on the ID’s. Only two Glennterns had wrong information on their IDs, which is probably pretty good for a government facility.  Apparently Ryan is only 5’5” tall, and apparently Chelsey has brown eyes and blue hair.  No big deal.

After work and dinner on their own, the group gathered in Ron’s room for the first Academy rap session.  Ron told a few more hilarious and horrific stories from his past academy experiences.  They even heard more about THAT guy.  This was the meeting the group had been waiting for, because they got to ask questions and finally got some answers.  The group discussed some things that would be happening over the summer, some tentative plans, and discussed which centers people would be most interested in seeing.  However, the meeting wasn’t as informative as was expected.  The dates for family weekend and free weekend and the dates they’d be traveling out of state were still undetermined.  As Ron said, nothing was really set in stone.

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

A conclusion has been reached that Wednesday was an uneventful day.  Breakfast, work, lunch, work, back to the luxury suite, dinner, and sleep.  The only thing of note brought up by any of Glennterns was the fact that Ryan’s burger at lunch was extraordinarily large.

Thursday, June 10th, 2010

It was just another day at the office.  By this time, all the Glennterns were getting settled into a bit of a routine, each of us freezing in our own cubicles or labs, and poor Adam stuck at a table shoved in the corner of the division secretary’s office.  With tours over and the Glennterns deep into reading about their individual projects, the office day went without much excitement.  In the back of their minds, however, the Glennterns were awaiting their first meeting to discuss our group project. 

Finally, 4:30pm rolled around and the “work day” was over.  Half of the Glennterns accompanied Ron to the gym, while the rest rode back to their private palace with Ryan discussing the idea of putting a floating colony on Venus.  As usually, dinners were had, and the seemingly nightly trips to Wal-Mart were made.

At 7:30pm, the Glennterns descended upon the room of their trusty coordinator, Ron.  It was time to figure out what project they would all be working on together.  What ideas would they think of, what would they contribute as a group.  About an hour and a half later, the list was long  and included creating social networking site called Spacebook, exploring next generation launch vehicles, testing a new free-swinging hitch, finding a solution to zero-g related muscle atrophy, and turning the moon into a spaceship.

The Glennterns decided to vote, excluding only the idea to turn the moon into a spaceship from the actual nominees.  Narrowing the list down to five, another vote was cast. Developing a modular idea for a universal infrastructure was clearly the winning idea, initially offered up by Howard.  As there was a tie for second, we decided to have one last vote to determine the runner up and thus have a back-up plan.  After the decision to have a blind-vote by paper ballot, Robyn asked if everyone needed to close their eyes. Laughter ensued.  Once the ballots were in, Ron read the results Survivor style naming Spacebook the back-up idea. 

The Glennterns went to bed sleepy with the knowledge that they would present their idea in a presentation the following Tuesday.  As usual, there was more work to be done!

Friday, June 11th, 2010

The morning was as usual, all the Glennterns carpooling to work, cautiously spending their allocated $4 for breakfast, deciding how much of the $4 they wanted to save for lunch, and discussing how over much CNN over plays coverage of the oil spill in the gulf.  Yes, it is a HUGE problem, but we’ve seen that LIVE feed of oil gushing from the bottom of the ocean for how many days now?

Off to work we went.  Chelsey discovered the existence of NASA Spacebook and the Glennterns resigned to presenting only one idea for their group project.  Slightly disheartened, they also discovered NASA Instant Messaging system which saved them from tons of replies on e-mails (not quite as good as saving tons of money on car insurance).  Shanita, however, was still in the dark without a computer assigned to her.  Monday, she was assured, she would have a computer. 

The day was drastically shortened for most of the interns as a Code R All Hands Meeting was called gathering all who work under the Research and Technology Directorate at Glenn.  Pizza and cookies were served, service awards were given out, and a question and answer session about the new direction of NASA was held.  Did I mention that there was pizza?

By the time 4:30 rolled around, the Glennterns sighed a sigh of relief.  One week over. Naps for all!

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

Oh what a lazy day (except for Robyn)!  It was early on Saturday morning and all the Glennterns were sleeping in when Robyn woke up to study for the GRE she was about to take.  Hours passed. The other Glennterns awoke, and Robyn left to take her test.  Chelsey, Kylee, Adam, Nathan, and Ron caught the last half of the US vs. England soccer game at the Chilli’s down the street starting at 3:30 while the others lounged and Robyn was fully immersed in her GRE testing.  There was little excitement to be had about the tie game, the quality of Chelsey’s margarita was to be desired, Kylee’s salad was just another salad, but the bottomless chips seemed to be a big hit!

At 8:00pm the Glennterns all meet again, with the inclusion of a tired Robyn who had conquered her test.  To Harry Buffalo’s they sojourned seeking nourishment and always interesting conversation.  Bison burgers were on the menu which led to a discussion on the political correctness of the term bison versus buffalo.  For a couple minutes, an excited few though ostrich was also offered on the menu, but it turned out only to be an add highlighting the health benefits of bison (buffalo?) meat.

After dinner, the Glennterns headed to Croker Park to watch a movie.  At $10.50 per ticket with no student discount in sight, most of them ended up paying more than they ever had to go to the movies.  Adam, Nathan, Chelsey, and Kylee watched “Get Him to the Greek” which turned out to be a rock-and-roll inspired comedy.  Howard, Ryan, Shanita, Robyn and Rod enjoyed the outrageous action comedy “The A-Team.” Howard and Ron decided they would probably never see a flying tank again.

By 1:30am the Glennterns arrived back at their humble abode to rest up for the super-secret “team building activity” Ron had prepared for them the following day.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

After a late-night Tuesday, everyone got to sleep in…and trust me, they needed it.  The Glennterns met at Ron’s room at noon for a team building activity.  He handed them two packets of paper, said “Have fun,” and slammed the door in their faces.  As it was, the boys were on one side of the hallway, and the girls on the other, so that’s how they split teams….boys vs. girls.  The team building activity was a photo scavenger hunt around the Cleveland area.  The teams had to find the locations of a packet of photos and take a photo of the same spot with themselves in the photo.  Some included statues, a wind turbine, a giant chess set, and famous buildings.  Additionally there was bonus points awarded for other things like finding a rare car and a photo of someone wearing a crazy outfit like a Geico gecko costume. 

The boys headed first towards the NASA main gate to take pictures with some bomber planes, and a NASA Glenn sign.  However, a group of four hooligan boys, running across the street with a shiny object near the entrance to a federal facility must draw a bit of attention.  The boys were stopped by an obstruction as they tried to take the picture.  45 minutes later, they were on their way.  However, the girls also ran into the same obstruction an hour later because the guys wanted to get a leg up and win the competition.

Both teams ended their searches in downtown Cleveland at the Hard Rock Café.  The crew shared their adventures from the day and wolfed down their meals along with lots of water.  It was a long and stressful day.  The food was decent, but severely over-priced.  Robyn was charged $12 for a grilled cheese sandwich because it was a special order that was not on the menu!  Though on the other hand, Kylee seemed to get a deal on her meal, with the biggest cobb salad anyone had ever seen!

After returning back to their palace, the Glennterns met in Adam and Nathan’s suite to discuss the team project.  Ideas were tossed about and a list of goals, scopes, timelines, and questions were developed.  The group planned additional meetings to work on the project and the evening was called.  Week two….here they come!