Natalie Cluck

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She Codes for a Spacecraft That’ll Take Us Farther Than We’ve Ever Been (Photo credit: NASA JSC Students)

Meet Natalie. She’s interned at NASA since high school and is now working on code for the Orion spacecraft – built to take humans farther than we’ve ever gone before. Natalie’s currently studying Computer Science at Texas A&M University.

What’s her favorite part of working as a NASA intern?

My favorite part is going to work every day being surrounded by NASA engineers who are passionate about solving problems and learning more about the universe. I especially love working on a critical project that is designed to carry humans to other planets, something that has never been done before.

What is she currently working on?

I‘m working on a team of interns at NASA’s Johnson Space Center to    develop a code coverage tool using Python for Orion’s flight software. This will help cover how much code is being executed within Orion’s mission critical systems, which will ensure that no computer bugs happen while flying in space!

What’s the most difficult part of her work?

The technical knowledge can be difficult since I am learning something new about software design every day, plus many engineers are expecting high standards for our results. But since we have a full team of five interns working on this project, we can progress quickly and utilize each other’s specialities to successfully meet those high expectations.

How did she get interested in this field?

I discovered my interest in computer science when I attended a summer program my senior year of high school called First Bytes at the University of Texas at Austin, then later became part of a community for women in computing called NCWIT. NCWIT continuously fuels my passion for computers science. And growing up in Houston, I have always pursued a dream of working for NASA, so I found a way to contribute to NASA’s mission through technology.

Any advice to aspiring STEMGirls?

Find mentors. Find women in the STEM industry (or elsewhere) and discover why you like those people. They serve as good examples for you to follow as you pursue your career in STEM.


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