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Learn how to get a NASA job in a new presentation series

  • Technology & Science
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Teaching & Learning
  • Students
  • Pitt-Bradford

If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to work at NASA — no matter who you are or what you’re studying — Vemitra White has something she wants you to know.

“We are more than astronauts,” she said. “We have accountants, administrators, educators and even journalists. I want to help these students every step of the way.”

White, an education specialist for NASA’s Marshall and Stennis space flight centers, will be leading webinars this semester for Pitt students to help them get a foot in the door at the agency. Students will learn about opportunities available at NASA, what kinds of skills the organization looks for and how to build a resume that will stand out to hiring managers there — whether it’s for a summer internship or a full-time job. The first session will be held remotely March 18.

“This will be a deep dive into how to get a job at NASA and how to prepare for a career at NASA,” White said. “If students don’t know what these jobs require, how can they prepare themselves?”

Responsible for bringing the series to Pitt is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford Tasha Alston, along with Pitt Diversity and Multicultural Program Manager Ron Idoko and support from Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Clyde Pickett.

After attending a presentation by White, Alston said she immediately saw the value the program could offer to Pitt students who are underrepresented in STEM, especially students at Pitt-Bradford.

“This will not only support students in their professional and educational development in STEM, but it will connect them with NASA in a way that they can have opportunities for future professional development and professional opportunities,” Alston said.

The program is offered through the NASA Educator Professional Development Collaborative, a collaboration with Texas State University to broaden student engagement with NASA’s work in exploration and discovery, especially for students from underrepresented groups.

“Representation matters,” said Alston. “And just to get access to this kind of opportunity is life-changing.”

There will be two sessions for students this semester, after which the team will meet and plan for more down the road.

“I hope that this will get more students of color, more students from diverse backgrounds, actually thinking about what it might mean to work for NASA and what it might mean to contribute to this form of science,” said Idoko. And as the relationship with NASA develops, he hopes that more people around campus can find ways to get involved.

Even in the short term, White has an inspirational pitch for why students should picture themselves at NASA.

“We’re the Artemis Generation: We are going back to the Moon and getting ready to send the first woman and person of color,” White said. “Students at the University of Pittsburgh can be a part of this journey.”

Interested students can register for the March 18 session on the Pitt-Bradford website. A session with information for faculty and staff will also be held on April 8.


Patrick Monahan