Fresh from the Silicon Valley, where they completed the 16-week-long internship at NASA Ames Research Centre, Deividas Čelkys and Tomas Narbutas from Kaunas University of Technology Faculty of Mechanical Engineering and Design are sharing their insights.
“Apart from the competencies needed for the projects, the most important qualities to be selected for the internship are curiosity, open-mindedness, passion and belief in what you are doing. Our internship coordinator at NASA was very happy with our openness and positive attitude”, says Narbuntas, vehicle engineering bachelor’s student at KTU.
In 2019, Tomas was participating in the national selection for NASA internship for the second time. Although he didn’t succeed in 2018, the student says that it is important to learn from failures.
“Although I was sad that I didn’t win the first time, the failure was a good lesson. So, even if you lose, there is a lot to learn”, says Narbuntas.
Both Tomas and his colleague Deividas Čelkys, mechanical engineering undergraduate, are the students of KTU GIFTed Academy – the intense studies path for the talented students. They agree that the engineering skills and knowledge obtained at KTU were the main assets, which opened the door to NASA Ames Research Centre Laboratories.
Although the students had an opportunity to participate in scientific research in several projects together with NASA scientists, however, they both agree that the most important was the practical task, which involved wind tunnel testing programme and exploring the propeller system, which could be adaptable in an urban environment.
“NASA engineers and technologies made me believe that everything is possible”, says Narbuntas.
The students are convinced that working together with NASA researchers had expanded their scientific outlook, and was a great investment to the future – this experience will allow them to look at the problems more creatively.
“This internship helped me decide which master’s studies to choose. I am planning to continue the project I started in NASA Ames Research Centre and to present it in my bachelor’s thesis. I will use the knowledge obtained for the experiments in the KTU wind tunnel”, says Čelkys.
The internship in NASA was one of the most significant life events for young men. They managed not only to get exclusive knowledge and skills, but also to get to know the history and nature of California, to visit the places accessible only to NASA employees, and to make friends with the best students of the universities from across the globe.
The national competition for the internship at NASA Ames Research Centre is facilitated by Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA). More than 20 students from Lithuania have participated in the internship since 2014; almost half of them – from KTU.