Tuesday, July 10, 2018

2018-07-10: Meet our Summer 2018 Interns!

Summer has officially started and the Autonomy Incubator has taken in several new interns along with a handful of returning friends!  This time around we have a total of eleven wonderful people helping out with everything. Let's introduce them!

First, meet Kastan Day.  This is his third year in the Ai, and he has been a great help throughout the past few years.  After graduating high school in 2016, he began his first year here as a social media intern.  When he returned his second year, he decided to take the coding and computer science route instead, which is where he continues to be this summer. This year he is working on an In-Space Assembly project. Kastan will graduate from Swarthmore College in 2020 with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science.

Kastan is working with In-Space Assembly this summer.

Next, meet Miranda Smith.  Though this is her first year interning here, she has already become a joy to have around!  Miranda graduated from Old Dominion University in 2017 with a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Science.  She is continuing to further her studies in order to receive her Master's Degree in 2019.  This summer, she is working with the Human Machine Interface team.

Miranda Smith working on a website to research the way people talk.

Chase Noren, like Kastan, is also working on In-Space Assembly. He will graduate this December from Texas A&M with a degree in Aerospace Engineering.  This is his second time interning with the Autonomy Incubator, as he joined us for the first time in the fall of 2017.

Chase showing me some of his work.

Derek Zhao is another new part of the Ai team and is working with computer vision and machine learning.  In 2011, he graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor's Degree in Music Composition.  He then went on to Columbia University to receive his Master's in Data Science.

Derek Zhao is working with computer vision and machine
learning here at NASA Langley.

Javier Puig-Navarro has been with us for almost five years now.  He first joined us in 2014 after he received his Master's in Aerospace Engineering from the Polytechnic University of Valencia. He is now a PhD student, studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  At the Ai, he is researching time critical coordination and path planning for multiple unmanned vehicles.

Javier is a very dedicated and hardworking member of our
team and we are so happy to have him here for yet another

Meghan Chandarana has also dedicated many summers to NASA Langley, as this is now her fourth year as an Ai intern!  After completing her undergrad studies at UC Berkeley, she is now a student at Carnegie Mellon University, working towards her PhD in Mechanical Engineering.  After receiving her Master's degree in 2014, she was an intern at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. In 2015, she then began interning at the Ai and, through the past few years, has worked with natural language-based interfaces.  This summer, Meghan is working as a pathways intern and continuing her research from last summer with mission planning for large swarms.

Though this is Meghan's fourth year at the Ai, this is only
her first year as a pathways intern.

Ben Hargis received his Bachelor's Degree in Mechanical Engineering in 2017 from Tennessee Technological University.  He is currently continuing his studies as a PhD student in mechanical engineering with a focus in robotics.  Ben was a part of the Multi-Disciplinary Aeronautics Research Team Initiative (MARTI) in 2016 and worked on E-Cell tether modeling for Marshall Space Flight Center in 2017.  This summer, as an intern at the Ai, he is working to improve the robotic arm operations for the In-Space Assembly project.

Ben is a PhD student at Tennessee Technological University.

Erica Meszaros has returned for her second summer at the Ai, after completing her first internship in 2016.  She received her Bachelor's in Classical Languages (Greek/Latin) from the College of Wooster, her Master's in Linguistics with a Certificate in Artificial Intelligence from Eastern Michigan University, her MA in Social Science from the University of Chicago, and will be starting a PhD program in the fall at Brown University with a focus in the History of Science.  At NASA Langley, she uses linguistic analysis to evaluate human/autonomous system teaming and interface design to aid in trusted autonomy.  We are so happy to have her back for another summer!

Erica's research analyzes the language we use to describe
scientific knowledge and advancements, specifically through
metaphor throughout time.

Andrew Puetz is a recent graduate from South Dakota State University.  This past fall he received his Bachlor's degree in Mechanical Engineering, but he is hoping to continue his education with a Master's degree in aerospace engineering.  He started his first internship at the Ai in the Spring, but this is not his first time working at NASA Langley.  Last summer, he was part of a twelve-person intern team, which is now called the Aero Academy.  This summer he is working with hovercraft control systems at the Ai.

Andrew wants to create a fleet with RC Hovercrafts this

Jeremy Castagno is interning at the Ai this summer for about two weeks but, as a pathways intern,  is in high hopes of coming back in the following summers! He received his Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University with minors in Computer Science and Mathematics.  Through his work in Memphis as a control systems engineer for oil and gas, he ended up falling in love with the control and design side of things and cyber physical systems, and he is now a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, where he has just received his Master's in Robotics.  At the Autonomy Incubator, he will be working with emergency landings for Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS).  His main goal with this is for autonomous machines to have more humanlike decision-making, such as deciding for themselves where to land and being able to assess risk.

"Hopefully I can come back for the next three summers while I
work towards my PhD."

Finally, I suppose I should reintroduce myself. I am the social media intern in the Ai, and I go by the name of Payton Heyman.  Last summer I did a short internship for about two weeks and covered the open house in October of 2017, but I loved it so much that I have come back for a full summer this time! I will begin to pursue my first year of college at the Savannah College of Art and Design in the fall, but I am very much looking forward to spending the summer here at NASA Langley.

Payton looking through photos to edit in Photoshop.

All of our beloved interns have been working very hard since each of their arrivals.  It is a pleasure to be here and work with everyone.

Cheers to a summer of research and fun!

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