W&J Junior Earns NASA Internship  

Created: April 2, 2020
Last Updated: April 2, 2020

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WASHINGTON, PA (April 2, 2020)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) junior Alexas Iams is following her dreams to infinity and beyond—all the way to NASA’s Langley Research Center 

The math major and CIS minor will spend the summer interning on a project related to the on-orbit operation of the Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III) International Space Station mission. Alexas will be producing research-quality analyses and analysis software for this mission. 

“After college, and hopefully graduate school, my goal is to work for a federal government agency. The types of jobs that I’m interested in pursuing are very competitive. I thought that if I could get an internship with a government agency, I would have an edge when applying for full-time jobs,” she said.  

Alexas ultimately chose to apply for a role with NASA because of its reputation for working with math students. During her interview, she was told that out of 90 candidates, only 4 would be selected for an internship.  

“It doesn’t take a math major to know that those aren’t very good odds,” she said.  

She credits her time at W&J to helping her prepare for this internship and setting her apart from the crowd.  

“W&J has played a huge role in preparing me for this opportunity. Because W&J is such a small school, I’ve been able to have a more individualized education. Many of my classes are quite small, so my professors have been able to adjust classes based on the students’ interests and needs,” she said. “My advisor, Dr. Higginbottom, helped me tremendously with internships this year. He was extremely supportive and encouraged me to still apply to NASA after not getting the results I wanted with other applications. My work study boss, Lindsey Guinn, was also very supportive throughout the whole process. 

After graduating from W&J, Alexas plans to go to graduate school for math and pursue a career in cryptography with a federal government agency. 

About Washington & Jefferson College
Washington & Jefferson College, located in Washington, Pa., is a selective liberal arts college founded in 1781. Committed to providing each of its students with the highest-quality undergraduate education available, W&J offers a traditional arts and sciences curriculum emphasizing interdisciplinary study and independent study work. For more information about W&J, visit www.washjeff.edu, or call 888-W-AND-JAY.

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