NASA Student Airborne Research Program 2015

An overview of the 2015 NASA Student Airborne Research Program (SARP) in southern California. SARP is an eight-week summer internship that immerses undergraduate students majoring in the STEM fields in all aspects of a major NASA airborne science campaign.



Thomas Mazzetti, SARP Participant: Flying on the DC-8 is a once in a lifetime opportunity, especially for an undergraduate student. Getting to go on a NASA mission, in an airplane, with NASA scientists, and you kinda become an unofficial NASA scientist in the process.
Narrator: It's a research mission like no other. With student scientists. On a NASA flying laboratory. The NASA Student Airborne Research Program, or SARP for short, is an eight week summer internship that gives undergraduate students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math, a complete look at what it's like to conduct a major NASA airborne science mission. Students are involved in everything from detailed mission planning, to installing and operating scientific instruments on the plane, to presenting final results from data they collect in flight, and at research locations on the ground.
John Murray, SARP Participant: It's larger than life. This is absolutely incredible. I love working on a platform where it feels like you're just in the lab back home, but really you're 30,000 feet in the air.
Katelyn Zigner, SARP Participant: The DC-8 was just a very unique experience I know I couldn't get anywhere else, through any other program. Getting to walk around on a plane and operate all these different instruments and to see students taking measurements that I know they can use to further their research and understanding.
Narrator: 32 students from small colleges, to large universities, are competitively selected for SARP. They're divided in to four research groups to study air quality, and to measure land and sea surfaces using remote sensing instruments. While the highlight of SARP is flying on a research aircraft like the NASA DC-8, the program's strength lies in the diversity of students, who learn from each other, and bring unique perspectives to the study of the Earth system.
Nick Heath, SARP MentorAnd so you have chemistry majors with mathematics majors, with physics, biochemistry, pre-med, there's just such a diverse group.
Jesse Bausell, SARP Mentor: One of the real advantages of using students who are not from the field, and bringing them into the field, is that they're going to think of scientific issues in all different ways from all different angles, and ask questions that other people haven't asked before, and that they think of because of their unique backgrounds.
Narrator: Students are guided by mentors as well as NASA researchers and university faculty members, who have years of experience in airborne science. The opportunity to network and learn from science professionals, has led many students to pursue advanced degrees after SARP. Some have even gone on to participate in other NASA airborne science campaigns.
Kathleen Casados, SARP ParticipantI had never seen an internship that gave the whole process of what I could expect in graduate school, or just in any other position I were to take on later.
Taylor Krause, SARP ParticipantTo be a part of something that is such a large-scale research opportunity is absolutely amazing. I would not have this opportunity at my small school. I hope to gain a sense of confidence in my researching ability, and hopefully take that confidence on to grad school, and, like, in my future goals and occupations.
Jesse Bausell, SARP Mentor: Getting to do a summer internship with a name, with a big name like NASA, and working with people who are leaders in their field, and who are leaders in these tight knit communities, it's just a tremendous experience.
Nick Heath, SARP Mentor: Yeah, I think that's one of the big draws, that you start meeting all these NASA scientists and they're very open and they want to speak with you and give you advice.  Being a part of airborne science is something that is a community, it's kind of a family, and it's something that you can't get in any other type of field.
Katelyn Zigner, SARP ParticipantI've gained so much in these past eight weeks. I started out with no hands-on research and very little, just research in general. And now I can say that I went up, collected field samples, planned for all that, and now I made this research project based off my data and can do so much more.
Bradley Garczynski, SARP Participant: I think after this program it made me realize what really meant most to me. And that was my appreciation for science. And I'm sort of getting the sense that, you know, it doesn't just end here. And being part of SARP extends well beyond your time here, whether it's in graduate school or a career down the line, you'll always sort of come back to the people you met at SARP, and I think it's really meaningful.
Music fades