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How did you start to work in NASA?

I'll be attending UC Santa Barbara and I'll be majoring in physics with a minor in astronomy. I hope to work in the astronomy field but I have no idea how to get started. #astronomy #physics #career-details

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Emily J.’s Answer

Hi Lizeth!

Like any other big company, there are TONS of roles at NASA (and other Space and Aeronautics organizations!). Your first step will be to zero in on what type of roles you'll specifically be most interested in. It sounds like you're just getting started at UCSB, so there are a few things you should focus on when you start getting into your classes-- which classes or topics are you most enjoying? What skills do you seem to be excelling in and developing fastest? Answers to these questions will help to guide your direction.

Secondly, I'd recommend finding some mentors in that field, they'll have experience, connections, and interactions with lots of types of roles in their field. You can start planting seeds for mentors who'd be most likely to be open to helping you on LinkedIn by doing the following:
--Go to UCSB's LinkedIn page and click "view all alumni"
--Type in "NASA" and/or "Aeronautics" (or whatever applicable keywords you think of) in the search bar
--Click on some of the bars under "where they work" and "what they do", and below, people will begin to appear
--Look at their profiles and see what they do and how they got to their position (what courses or certifications did they take/do they have? What does their career trajectory look like? What looks most attractive to you?_
--Reach out to the people you're most interested in with a LinkedIn message letting them know that as a student of their Alma Mater, you'd love to have a mentor or even just a quick chat to learn more about working at NASA and how to start shaping your career.

People usually love giving back to their Alma Mater and are flattered to be considered as a mentor :)
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Maria’s Answer

You can do whatever you wish as long as you believe in yourself and don't lose sight of your goal.
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Marina’s Answer

Hi Lizeth,

I think Emily's advice is really good! I would also suggest if you find a professor you really like working with for research that you look into applying to be a NASA Space Grant Intern (https://www.nasa.gov/offices/education/programs/national/spacegrant/home/index.html). I wasn't able to do this because of the type of research that I do, but many of my close friends have and have loved it! I also suggest if you are looking for an internship, check out NASA OSSI (https://intern.nasa.gov/ossi/web/public/main/) where you can create a profile and it will match you with internship programs you can apply for. Make sure you have as much experience as possible and update your resume before applying. Hope this helps!

Marina
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