“Researching with the Langley Aeronautics Academy was the best summer of my life,” said Jesse Brady, a senior in mechanical engineering at UAA. Brady spent last summer in Virginia studying with some of the worlds top scientists. He added that the experience ultimately proved not only be the best summer of his life, but also one of the most academically inspirational.
When offered the chance to intern at NASA, Brady jumped at the chance. “I have always loved flying and exploring,” he said. When he was younger, he used to dream of exploring space as an astronaut or working as a scientist or engineer with NASA.
“It sounded like such a fun, amazing, once in a lifetime experience and I knew that this was the opportunity that I had always wanted,” he said. During the internship, Brady toured numerous NASA facilities from wind tunnels to state-of-the-art flight simulators. He had the opportunity to tour several other NASA centers including NASA Headquarters, the Goddard Space Flight Center, and the Wallops Flight Facility.
While he was at Langley, Brady helped with designing, building, and test-flying a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle for use in search and rescue missions. He managed flight test logistics and had the opportunity to serve as the testing engineer and work with the UAV pilot during test flights. As part of the project, Brady spent time analyzing the growth and development of the emerging UAV industry.
Brady was also shown the applications of engineering outside of NASA. He had the chance to meet with F-22 fighter pilots and toured a nuclear submarine. These real world engineering applications proved inspirational and he was impressed by the people who work at Langley. “It was great to intern in an environment where I was constantly surrounded by some of the world’s leading scientists and engineers,” he said.
Everyone at Langley was passionate about their projects and had an obvious excitement for life and learning. Brady was able to meet with several senior researchers and was “overwhelmed” by their kindness to not only pause their work, but to take time to get to know him and offer academic advice.
The most important thing Brady learned was to pursue what excites you. “Everyone at Langley had a contagious love for life and learning,” he said. The researchers taught that a scientist is at their most effective and at their happiest when researching or working on what they are most passionate about.
“I highly recommend to any students who are passionate about science and exploration to look into interning with NASA,” he said.
Name: Jesse Brady, Undergraduate Student
Institution: University of Alaska Anchorage
Major: Mechanical Engineering
Mentor: NASA Langley
Award: NASA Internship