2011 Annual Science Report

NASA Ames Research Center Reporting  |  SEP 2010 – AUG 2011

EPO Activity: Astrobiology EPO Summer Intern Program

Project Progress

Jessica Rabalais, a sophomore at Chapman College in Orange County, CA, joined the NAI Ames Team this summer as the team’s first Astrobiology EPO intern. Jessica is a graduate of the Ames Team “Lassen Astrobiology Student Intern Program” at Red Bluff High School – a collaboration between the high school, Lassen Volcanic National Park and the Ames Team. When Jessica entered the two-year, high-school program in her junior year, her intention was to become a theater arts major in college. After completing the Lassen intern program, she changed her major to science communications with hopes of becoming a NASA EPO lead in the future.

Jessica’s responsibilities and accomplishments during her eight weeks at Ames this summer were many:

  • Served as student leader for the NASA STEP Summer High School Program (Science, Technology, Engineering Program)
  • Assisted in further developing and evaluating the Lassen Astrobiology Intern Program from a “graduate’s” perspective
  • Supported development of astrobiology material for high school science curricula
  • Assisted in creating an online astrobiology resource page for the Lassen interns on the Ames Team website at: http://www.amesteam.arc.nasa.gov/EPO/lassen_assignments.html
  • Utilized Survey Monkey to create a Lassen internship student survey. Contacted all past and present interns of which 70% completed and returned the survey.
  • Coordinated the creation of an astrobiology archive of the SETI Institute’s weekly radio show.

As a result of her successful summer EPO intern experience at Ames, Jessica convinced Chapman College to create a special major in science communication. Jessica is interested in future summer internships with other NASA teams.

Intern Jessica Rabalais and Ames Team PI Dave Des Marais use a mortar and pestle to crush minerals collected at Lassen Volcanic National Park. Jessica is a graduate of the Ames Team “Lassen Astrobiology Student Intern Program” at Red Bluff High School. When Jessica entered the two-year, high-school program in her junior year, her intention was to be a theater arts major. After completing the Lassen intern program, she changed her major to science communications with hopes of becoming a NASA EPO lead.