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SaSa Learning Activities


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SaSa Learning Activities

Students of the 2022 SaSa class stand in a cockpit, learning from a NASA airman as part of a training module.
Students of the 2022 SaSa class stand in a cockpit, learning from a NASA airman as part of a training module.

Module 1

  • The first module starts with a two-week introductory summer workshop at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC) and Howard University Beltsville Campus research facility in Beltsville, Maryland
  • Immediately after the workshop, there is a one-week, hands-on training on remote sensing/satellite application to disaster monitoring (ex. smoke from forest fires, volcanic plumes, desert dust storms, chemical spills, tornadoes and hurricanes, etc.) using the Direct Broadcast System Antenna Receiving and Data Analyses System at Hampton University.

Module 2

  • Students participate in a three-week field deployment based out of the NASA Wallops Flight Facility, where participants will be involved in all aspects of a scientific field campaign; from detailed planning for achieving mission objectives to flying on NASA aircraft and assisting in instrument operation and field validation at selected sites.

Module 3

  • The final module is focused on processing and analyzing the collected field data and presenting early results to peers, mentors, and other stakeholders based at UMBC.
  • Participants are provided academic advisement and mentorship support until graduation, to help improve student retention and assure timely progress to graduation.

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Last Updated
Nov 22, 2023

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      Stephanie Marie Ortiz Rosario
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      What is your current major and university? I attend Howard University, my current major is Computer Science.
      What made you decide to apply to SaSa? Growing up, I have always looked towards the Earth’s resources to enhance the life I live. The first reason I applied to SaSa is because I believe that SaSa will provide me the opportunity to feed my desire and curiosity of utilizing the Earth’s resources for scientific advancement. The Earth’s resources are all we have and understanding the composition on a molecular level can further advance scientific insights to help the proliferation of the tech world. Second, the program is an opportunity to grow in a practical research environment. The SaSa program will provide practical experience to be prepared for PhD programs. And lastly, SaSa will provide the opportunity to bring what I have to the table. With my ongoing passion for research and innovation and using the Earth’s resources, I wanted to be a part of an environment where I can contribute to a cause greater than myself.
      What would you like to accomplish over the summer? Over the summer, I am looking forward to gaining hands-on research experience, learning more about geoscience and connecting the subject to computer science. 
      What are your three favorite things about yourself? My three favorite things about myself is that I am creative, committed, and well-balanced. As a Computer Science major, I am often thought of as more logical. But behind that rationale, there is a foundational creativity that vitalizes my pursuits. “Failure will never overtake me if my determination to succeed is strong enough” is a quote by Og Mandino that I live by. I have an pragmatic commitment making a positive impact on society. My favorite thing about myself is that I am well-balanced. With all my endeavors, I find that I am rarely drained because there is equal passion and energy with all my pursuits.
      Who is someone you admire and why? Someone I admire is Dr. Jamila Cocchiola, my high school Computer Science teacher. Dr. Cocchiola has accomplished so much in her life, especially in the STEM field. She is very passionate about what she does in Computer Science and is a very prodigious person overall. Her work ethic continues to invigorate me, even when I am away at college.

      Ananda Turner
      What is your current major and university? I am currently majoring in Biology on the cellular/molecular track at Hampton University.
      What made you decide to apply to SaSa? I applied to SaSa because I heard about the hands-on activities and immersion around NASA professionals that could provide a well rounded experience where I could learn what it is like to work at NASA. Beforehand, I did internships that were completely virtual where I only worked on coding skills. I also applied because I wanted to branch out and do research in a different field outside of Biology, which could help me learn more about what I am interested in.
      What would you like to accomplish over the summer? By the end of the summer I want to improve my programming skills in R and learn new hands-on skills using remote sensing and other atmosphere data recording instruments. I also want to build relationships with members of the SaSa staff, including my mentor, so that we can possibly reconnect in the future. Lastly, I want to complete a research paper or poster that I will present at a symposium.
      What are your three favorite things about yourself? The three qualities I like the most about myself are my creativity, curiosity, and attention to detail.
      Who is someone you admire and why? I admire Paul Stamets. I have respect for the high level of curiosity he has for his research in fungi. Even after years of research and accomplishments he continues to think about the possibilities there are with using fungi to treat diseases and heal our ecosystems. I also admire his commitment to finding ways of keeping natural ecosystems healthy.

      Romina Cano Velasquez
      What is your current major and university? I am pursuing a major in Mechanical Engineering at the Honors College at Miami Dade College.
      What made you decide to apply to SaSa? I am interested in the aerospace industry field and I hope to become part of the engineering team working at NASA. The SaSa program seemed to be an ideal opportunity to grant me first access to hands-on experiences, NASA procedures, and specialists in scientific research. Furthermore, as part of an underrepresented community, I was delighted to know about a program that would bring me closer to my goals.
      What would you like to accomplish over the summer? This summer, I would like to acquire fundamental knowledge for my professional growth as a researcher and engineer. I am also looking forward to establishing new connections with my peers and mentors and getting the most out of this unique experience.
      What are your three favorite things about yourself? My three favorite things about myself are my curiosity for learning new things, my willingness to constantly help others, and my decisiveness to focus on solutions to a problem.
      Who is someone you admire and why? I deeply admire my mom. After suffering an accident in her twenties, she struggled and overcame it to become a professional and build a family. I have always said that my mom’s resilience and courage made her succeed, and her fearlessness and determination made her live. She is my principal role model, and she has inspired me to become who I am now.

      Kennedi White
      What is your current major and university? I currently attend Howard University where I am a Mechanical Engineering major and Physics, Math, and English triple minor.
      What made you decide to apply to SaSa? I’ve always been infatuated working with NASA and being a part of the driving force behind space, Earth, and atmospheric exploration. Coupling this with my childhood history and interest in marine science, marine exploration and the relationship it has with engineering, applying to SaSa became the culmination of all of my past and present interests. When I read up on it my interest in the program progressed. Applying to the program was a necessity!
      What would you like to accomplish over the summer? Over the summer I would like to build a better understanding of carrying out scientific research along with learning how to collect data and interpret it to make concrete conclusions on how the Earth is doing.
      What are your three favorite things about yourself? My three favorite things about myself are my curiosity, tenacity, and humor. 
      Who is someone you admire and why? I admire Dr. Modibo Kadalie because Dr. Kadalie has been a powerful force that helped shape my view on the world and how African Americans, specifically, fit in it. The most notable contribution Dr. Kadalie has had in my life was this lesson: respect from anyone, regardless of age, is earned not given. Dr. Kadalie drove this lesson home by not requiring me to refer to him using honorifics; in most settings I referred to Dr. Kadalie as ‘Modibo’. Dr. Kadalie has consistently listened to what I had to say, not to respond, but for understanding and comprehension. He has shown me that influencing the younger generation doesn’t have to come at the expense of the knowledge from past generations and for that I’ll forever be grateful.

      Kiara Wilson
      What is your current major and university? My name is Kiara Wilson and I’m a Computer Science & Mathematics major with a minor in Biology attending Virginia State University.
      What made you decide to apply to SaSa? I decided to apply to the SaSa program for the experience and expansion on scientific knowledge. As a computer science major, my classes center around programming — lacking other sciences, especially Earth-related. I knew this would be a great opportunity to enjoy an experience in a relatively unfamiliar field.
      What would you like to accomplish over the summer? Over the summer I’d like to grow socially (I’m an introvert), and I would love to find some new interests as well. I believe this opportunity will improve my academic and professional engagement skills as well.
      What are your three favorite things about yourself? I like that I’m hardworking and I’m always willing to take on a challenge. I also enjoy the arts. I played two instruments throughout high school, and I participated in theater arts as well. I also am a loc enthusiast and am in love with locs overall. (I’ve had mine since my sophomore year of high school.)
      Who is someone you admire and why? While I admire many people, I look up to my father the most. He’s very hard-working and he manages to spend time with myself and all of my siblings. He’s also extremely kind-hearted and one of the most gentle people in my life.

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