Campus Life

UWF student to intern with NASA

After checking her e-mail daily, Tanya Gallagher finally received the message she had anxiously been awaiting. The e-mail confirmed that she was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to intern with the Langley Aerospace Research Summer Scholars (LARSS) Program. A senior majoring in environmental studies at UWF, Gallagher is one of only 30 students nationwide to be selected for the prestigious internship this summer.

“I will travel to the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. to complete the 10-week internship,” said Gallagher. “I know this experience will really help build my résumé and will provide me with unique opportunities after I graduate. I’m looking forward to making connections with NASA and gaining hands-on experience in another field of work.”

Gallagher will begin her internship June 1 and will receive a $5,650 stipend to cover her expenses. During the course of the program, she will study environmental applications that can be placed in Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Gallagher, along with three or four other interns, will work under the direction of Mary Gainer, NASA researcher and LARSS mentor, in order to identify a research topic that will ultimately benefit planning and management of the Langley Research Center.

“At the conclusion of the internship, my team will give an oral presentation of our research project to our respective department within NASA,” said Gallagher. “I am a singer and a guitarist, so I think giving an oral report on a research project will probably be just as comfortable as performing with my guitar.”

Following the internship, Gallagher will return to UWF in August to complete her final two semesters of coursework before graduating in spring 2010. She does not know what career path she will take after graduation, but she is interested in working with the Environmental Protection Agency or possibly attending graduate school. Although Gallagher has not decided what life after college will bring, she is certain the hands-on experience she gains with NASA will benefit her in the future.

“I know the internship will be very rewarding to me,” said Gallagher. “It will be such a fun and educational experience. I’m going to NASA!”

For more information, visit the NASA LARSS program Web site at or contact Leo ter Haar, director of the UWF School of Science and Engineering, at

Written by Josh Lyons, University Marketing Communications