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Launching a career in aerospace engineering

Alina Creamer ’20 has just completed her sophomore year at NC State, yet packs an impressive resume. Starting with an internship at Lockheed Martin while in high school, she has since added internships at NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) and Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems. With a major in aerospace engineering, the internships have allowed her to apply concepts learned in the classroom to the real world and has provided her with the connections needed for a bright career.

In the summer following her freshman year, Creamer obtained an internship as a contamination control and planetary protection engineer at NASA LaRC. The internship allowed her to gain hands-on training in recertifying cleanrooms, research experience with contamination control guidelines, and mentorship skills. Her mentoring extended to students in two Virginia Space Grant Consortium (VSGC) programs: Virginia Aerospace Science Technology Scholars (VASTS) and Virginia Earth System Science Scholars (VESSS). During the VSGC programs, Creamer notes assisting students in the mission design process for a theoretical crewed mission to Mars (VASTS) and an Earth-observing satellite mission (VESSS). This particularly made an impact, as it allowed her to give back to a program that propelled her interest in aerospace engineering.

Alina Creamer '20

Alina Creamer ’20 with astronaut Scott Altman

Her internship with Northrop Grumman Innovation Systems, formerly Orbital ATK, will last through the summer and fall of 2018. During this time, she will work in the Guidance Navigation and Control group within the NASA Sounding Rocket Operations Contract, focusing on altitude control systems for sounding rockets. Says Creamer, “While I am still getting into the hang of things, I have already been able to watch my first rocket launch, help with pneumatics and air bearing tests for different payloads, learn of the calibration procedure for different inertial navigation systems, test electrical components of the payload, and help out at different public outreach days in which we launch water rockets with students. No two days are the same, and I look forward to building upon the skills I already have, as well as learning new ones.”

For the role the Park Scholarship has played in her successes, Creamer says it most eloquently: “The different leadership academy sessions I have been given access to through Park have given me the incentive, tools, and confidence to be proactive and seek these internship opportunities out. As Park Scholars, we are constantly encouraged to communicate with our peers, faculty, alumni, and friends of the Park Scholarships program. While none of my internships have directly come from one of these connections, the moral support, advice, and constructive challenges these relationships have brought me have further inspired me to pursue my passion in aerospace engineering.”

posted 2018.07.02