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McAllen ISD student studies at NASA

posted Nov 4, 2016, 3:17 PM by Marissa Sarabando   [ updated Nov 4, 2016, 3:19 PM ]

Garza 1 of just 24 students nationwide accepted for intern program

Aaron Garza enjoyed two stints at NASA this past summer as part of the STEM Enhancement and Earth Science Research Internship Program. He was one of 24 applicants accepted from about 600 who applied across the nation and was the only student from the Rio Grande Valley.

At the University of Texas Center for Space Research (CSR) in Austin, he studied satellite imagery including images of flooding in the Houston area.

“Images are in different wavelengths,” he explained. “We would classify the images based on the pixels.”

He also worked with computer models, like building a rocket that had to undergo certain, specific tasks.

“They would give us different scenarios,” Garza, a McAllen Memorial student taking courses in the district’s International Baccalaureate Programme, said. “We (also) had to research different technologies NASA is using.”

Having already taken district courses in biology, chemistry and physics, he said he felt prepared for the rigors at NASA. In IB, he has participated on the Masterminds Team, the Science Olympiad and the Programming Club.

He has had a life-long love for science. He even won the McAllen ISD Elementary Science Fair while at Gonzalez Elementary.

Garza plans to study either aerospace engineering or biomedical.

The program offers summer internships to high school students who have an interest in pursuing Science, Technology, Engineering, or Mathematics careers, according to the Center for Space Research website. The interns will work beside CSR scientists analyzing and visualizing data. This content knowledge, coupled with hands-on activities, allows the intern to gain experience in research through field investigation and data analysis.

Interested students can find out more here.