Interning at NASA, a critical step on my path to my career

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By: Sanjana Shetty, Fall 2016 Braven Fellow, San José State University


Sanjana Shetty, Fall 2016 Braven Fellow at San José State UniversityI am currently a senior studying Software Engineering with a minor in math and humanities. I am also pursuing a Cybersecurity Certificate at San José State University. I grew up in Cupertino and have lived in the Bay Area since I was six years old. Before that, I lived in Philadelphia, New York, and India. Like most kids in high school, I did not know what career I wanted to pursue after college. My dad, who is an engineer,  encouraged me to go into the field because he thought I would enjoy the challenge. I wasn’t too thrilled at first because I wanted to be a lawyer. However, to my surprise, I ended up enjoying it. I liked the people I met in my engineering classes and the courses I took were really interesting (like Artificial Intelligence).

Once I graduate, I want to have a career in biotechnology or artificial intelligence. First, I feel like there is still a lot to explore and innovate in these fields. Second, being a part of projects that will improve peoples’ quality of life and the ability to constantly learn new things is what I want for my life.

Pursuing a degree in STEM has pushed me out of my comfort zone and made me grow as a person. I was a Software Engineering Intern at NASA Ames Research Center January through August and worked in the Human-Computer Interaction Department. I received this incredible opportunity through a friend who referred me to his boss.

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During my internship, I ran automated test suites using Python and Selenium WebDriver, which was completely new to me at that time. I learned about different types of testing and about the different systems in NASA (which I tested to find bugs and report them) during my internship. A few projects were challenging at first, but it got easier over time. Additionally, I had the opportunity to mentor a junior intern. I helped him ramp up on NASA systems, Python, and Selenium.

Now I can take these skills anywhere and know they’re just another thing that will help me land a strong job after graduation.