13:27 PM

Student Interns and Grows with NASA


By Mary Ann Cozza

Vicente Rodriquez gives a presentation to students in Career Services interested in the CEP Program.

Vicente Rodriquez is a freshman at UHD who is half-way through the coolest internship around. Rodriquez is part of NASA's Career Exploration Program, which provides rich on-the-job training experiences that encourage educational advancement and academic achievement in careers directly related to NASA's technical and business workforce.

These year-long internships are paid and allow students to work on cutting edge projects with NASA researchers and scientists.

Rodriquez is currently working on the ARGOS (Active Response Gravity Offload System) Project, which is designed to simulate reduced gravity environments, such as Lunar, Martian, or microgravity, using a system similar to an overhead bridge crane, according to NASA.

"The experience is really great," Rodriguez said. "I'm able to meet a lot of really interesting people and expand my professional network, while learning more about engineering."

Rodriquez came to UHD planning to study chemical engineering. After being assigned to the mechanical engineering team at NASA, Rodriquez now admits he's torn about which direction to explore professionally because he loves the work he's done at NASA.

"Its amazing how much experience I've gotten working with the software and equipment that I am learning about in textbooks at school," he said. "My first day in the machine shop I broke three drill bits and dulled a blade, but everyone there is so understanding and helpful. They even help me with my homework!"

Rodriquez applied for the program while a senior in high school and credits his past internships with the TPC Group, a Houston-based chemical company, and Genesys Works, a program that establishes high-quality corporate internships and professional training opportunities for economically challenged high school students.

Rodriquez recently gave a presentation to students in the Office of Career Services about the CEP Program internship. Interested students can find more information here.

With so much experience at a young age, Rodriguez is looking forward to a bright and rewarding professional future. Although he might not know yet which field he wants to pursue - with his hard work, he's sure to be a big success!