It’s the End of the SPS Internship as We Know It

Internship Blog Posts

It’s the End of the SPS Internship as We Know It

Terance Schuh, 2019 SPS Intern, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, The College of New Jersey

(And I feel fine!) This summer has been great, and while I think I’m ready to head home, I want to take time to acknowledge some of the awesome things that came out of this internship! These aspects weren’t, by far, inclusive of everything that came out of my SPS internship experience, but they were the highlights.

I made a lot of friendships and connections that I won’t soon forget.

Unfortunately, not everyone in the physics community is going to be your friend, but if you’re one of those sad souls like me who loves the subject, I promise you’ll have no trouble finding a group of people that you end up calling your “physics phamily.” That trend continued for me this summer. From the awesome interns in the program and those at SPS who selected us, to my incredible mentors at NASA and my fellow NASA intern lunch buddies—all of these people reminded me once again that I am exactly where I want to be. These are my people; this is my field.

I learned a ton more physics.

Even though I took many physics courses in undergrad, some things are impossible to learn unless you’re forced to literally deal with them every day. My research, greatly centered around a subfield called continuum mechanics, fell into that category. One of the first things my mentors told me when I arrived was, “The physics you’re going to learn here, you won’t learn in school.” That’s the truth about much of physics in the 21st century, and I’m glad I got a taste of that.

I gained more research skills.

I’m grateful that my mentors allowed me to work on a project that provided room for developing all-around useful research skills. One of the most significant skills I learned was how to develop my own individual research ideas. Even though I’ve had past research experiences, I’ve still always been curious about how someone transforms from a researcher who carries out someone else’s ideas to one who generates their own unique ideas for future projects.

I got to live in the heart of a large city.

I’ve never been and still am not keen on city life, especially when it’s lived out of a college dorm. I will say, though, that I’m glad I got to experience it.

SPS interns take a tour of NASA and enjoy the annual summer Science Jamboree. Photo courtesy of SPS National.