Two students from Kentucky have gathered at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. to participate in the prestigious NASA Student Internship Program (SIP).

Vijai Raghunathan, from Lexington, and Brady Doepke, from Morehead, are working with NASA scientists and engineers for the summer.

SIP, a research intensive program that allows students to explore various career opportunities within NASA, commissions students to spend their workday in a Goddard or Wallops Flight Facility laboratory or Headquarters office conducting research for various projects and missions. By the end of the summer, they should complete close to 400 hours of research on a project related to NASA’s goals and deliver a poster presentation where they will share the results of their research with NASA personnel and fellow interns.

Each SIP student is assigned a NASA scientist or engineer as a mentor and assists the mentor with his or her current project. The SIP participants help their mentors conduct research and use data for the projects and in turn, the mentors guide the students and help them learn as much as possible from their experience at NASA Goddard.

For example, in the summer of 2005, several SIP students built miniature engines for unmanned underwater vehicles.

The ten-week program runs from June 5 through Aug. 11.

“This is a wonderful experience for a student,” said Dr. Vigdor Teplitz, chief of Higher Education for NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. “NASA’s space program is just about the greatest show on Earth if you are a technical person and having these young eager people with fresh points-of-view and questions is good for NASA. It makes a productive summer for all.”

This year, SIP brings together 46 students from around the country including Puerto Rico who are pursuing degrees in science, engineering, mathematics, computer science or another field of interest to the aerospace industry.

With this program, NASA continues the agency’s tradition of investing in the nation’s education programs. It is directly tied the agency’s major educational goal of strengthening NASA’s and the nation’s future workforce. Through this and the agency’s other college and university programs, NASA will identify and develop the critical skills and capabilities needed to achieve the Vision for Space Exploration.