Sunday, August 14, 2022

National Institute of Aerospace hosts communications mentorship program

The three communications interns are coordinated by members of NIA and Hampton University Faculty (Melanie Occhiuzzo/HNNDaily)
The three communications interns are coordinated by members of NIA and Hampton University Faculty (Melanie Occhiuzzo/HNNDaily)

Hampton University’s HU CARE program partnered with the National Institute of Aerospace to create a communications internship mentorship program for Hampton University students.

The HU CARE program is Hampton’s Center for Atmospheric Research and Education which NASA Langley Research Center is a partner of.

Students from HU’s Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications have been given the chance to work with HU CARE to learn to apply their strategic communications majors to reporting and communicating the scientific world to the general public.

Shelley Spears, a co-investigator in the NIA mentoring program, has worked closely with Hampton University’s Bill Moore, the principal investigator and professor in residence, to create a program where communications majors can learn how to decode scientific research.

Spears said a lot of times a scientific researcher may have a hard time explaining just what they are doing and that’s where communicators will come in and help the public understand the project.

There are three interns in the program, each of them are strategic communications majors under the journalism school at HU.

Each of these interns are receiving a $6,000 stipend for their 10 week program, all of which is funded under the 5-year grant that Moore got approved from NASA.

The $5 million grant will support the program for five years and while they are only in their third year they are already looking to begin the next grant process, Moore said.

Chebet Buckner, a sophomore, said she is using the program to work with NIA’s educational outreach program.

She and the other two interns, Maya McCombs and Raschell Guilliams, both seniors, said they are excited to be a part of a program that allows them to learn as much as they work.

The interns have gotten a chance to work with NASA Langley’s other interns.

Amber Agee-Dehart, program manager for the HU CARE program, said even though the interns have only been on site for 4 weeks, they have already expanded their scientific processes of thinking.

A big part of the internship project was to make sure that HU CARE’s story was being told.

Moore said by including journalism students, the program has been able to have coverage of the work they are doing.

“We’re opening people’s eyes to the field of science communications and showing them career options they weren’t aware of,” Moore said.

The internship program is open to any Hampton University student. It mainly consists of projects revolving around generating publicity for the HU CARE program, learning digital technology skills and working with social media, Spears said.

To learn more about the HU CARE program click here.

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