A program designed to excite students about the aeronautics industry,
encourage higher education for math and science, and provide hands on
experience with current NASA projects is in its 15th year at NASA’s Langley
Research Center, Hampton, Va. The successful Langley Aerospace Research
Summer Scholar (LARSS) Program is now being used as a model for a pilot
internship program starting this year at every NASA Center.

Ed Prior, Deputy Director of Education, credits the genesis of the LARSS
program to Education Director Dr. Samuel Massenberg: “Dr. Massenberg wanted
to bring undergraduate students to Langley Research Center to raise their
interest in the future of NASA, but also to help them gain real-world
experience in the areas of math, science and engineering. That was fairly
daring the first year he did it because we were the first NASA Center to try
that type of program.”

This year’s LARSS program involves over 120 undergraduate and graduate

These programs are designed to steer young engineers and scientists into the
fields of aeronautics math, science and engineering. According to
aeronautics industry experts, a shortage of young skilled engineers may pose
the greatest challenge for U.S. engineering fields.

Byron Callan, the first vice-president of Merrill Lynch illustrated: “Some
of the biggest problems that the U.S. aircraft industry has gotten into
resulted from the rapid hiring of inexperienced workers.” The LARSS program
strives to provide motivated students with this important experience.

Roger Hathaway, NASA Langley’s University Affairs Officer, further explains
that the students chosen for the program need more than just a resume.

“We are looking for students who are excited about the ongoing research that
Langley is involved in, but more important, students who are excited about
future opportunities to explore an area of research that might be of great
benefit to them – and to NASA.”

“The program is competitive,” admits Dan Moyers, a senior from West Virginia
University. “But once you get in, you gain access to all the resources to
conduct your research and you are guided by the best research engineers in
the world.”

Ngan Huang, a rising senior from MIT, explains one benefit to the
participating students: “It’s really important to be able to jump out of the
academic world into a project that can be applied to real life situations.
In school, we learn the fundamental concepts. It is one thing to know the
concepts, and it’s another to apply them to real research that can be used
to benefit society.”

For more information about the requirements, or to apply for the LARSS
program, go to: http://edu.larc.nasa.gov/larss/.