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Let us introduce you to Katrina Laygo and Melissa Oguamanam from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Melissa and Katrina are the Center Leads for the DEVELOP Program’s Goddard location. NASA’s DEVELOP Program is a student-led research internship that focuses on using NASA Earth observations to address community concerns and public policy issues.



Mechanical engineers design, develop, build, and test mechanical and thermal sensors and devices including tools, engines, and machines. These are essential systems in platforms in NASA's Earth Science missions, like satellite and airborne missions.  Mechanical engineers work mostly in engineering services, research and development, and manufacturing. 


At the core of scientific visualization is the representation of data graphically - through images, animations, and videos - to improve understanding and develop insight. Data visualizers develop data-driven images, maps, and visualizations from information collected by Earth-observing satellites, airborne missions, and ground measurements. Visualizations allow us to explore data, phenomena and behavior; they are particularly effective for showing large scales of time and space, and "invisible" processes (e.g. flows of energy and matter) as integral parts of the models.


Data scientists work with data captured by scientific instruments or generated by a simulator, as well as data that is processed by software and stored in computer systems. They work with scientists to analyze databases and files using data management techniques and statistics. From changes in sea level,  atmospheric composition, or land use, data scientists help make sense of the petabytes of data that NASA collects and stores.


An environmental planner tries to minimize the environmental impacts of housing, industrial, and transportation-related construction projects. Environmental planners help project managers navigate the environmental permitting process where they review a site to investigate potential environmental effects. This includes the effects of natural disasters.




Botanists research plant characteristics like their physiological processes, their evolutionary history, resistance to disease, relationships to other parts of the Biosphere or sphere within the Earth System.  Many botanists work in different locations; some may work indoors in laboratories and offices conducting experiments while others may work in agriculture and spend much of their time outdoors. Some botanists may also discover new plant species and share their learning with the public through tours and events.