DMACC Student Earns Spot in NASA Summer Internship

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BOONE, Iowa – A Des Moines Area Community College student has been selected to participate in a NASA summer internship.

DMACC Boone Campus student Pedro Salazar hopes to one day be a NASA engineer.

“It is my dream to work one day as a NASA engineer. So hopefully this can get me one step closer to my goal,” Salazar said.

The DMACC student participated in three volunteer opportunities with NASA prior to receiving an internship this summer.

Physics and Mathematics DMACC Professor Nancy Woods encouraged Salazar to look into a variety of opportunities to get his foot in the door.

“I think the one thing about Pedro that a lot of other students don’t possess is this ability to step outside of a box. Sometimes students sign up for classes and they’re there to take that class, but almost on a daily basis I’m coming in to say let’s apply for this scholarship, let’s apply for this opportunity, and Pedro listened to me,” Woods said.

NASA opportunities Salazar has participated in include: NASA Lucy Student Pipeline Accelerator and Competency Enabler Virtual Academy, NASA Community Aerospace Scholars program and NASA proposal writing and evaluation experience.

The internship plans to educate Salazar on designing and building short-range drones for search and rescue operations that the U.S. Coast Guard can use.

Salazar said the internship was originally planned to take place in Silicon Valley, California, but now it will be done remotely due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It’s going to be a little different, but it is going to be challenging, so I like that,” Salazar said.

Woody said she will continue to follow Salazar’s journey even after he graduates DMACC.

“It’ll give him boots in the ground experience, give him an in when it’s time to apply for the next round of internships and the next round and finally for his overall job,” Woods said.

Salazar plans to go to a four-year college after DMACC.

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