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Work your way to NASA

Work your way to NASA
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You seem to have chosen a career that correlates well with your name, ‘an honorable warrior’ choosing to touch ‘skies’. Well, with your field of...

I am pursuing Aerospace engineering (first year) and have a desire to work with NASA. Could you please guide me on how to get a job in NASA? - Akaash Aryan

You seem to have chosen a career that correlates well with your name, ‘an honorable warrior’ choosing to touch ‘skies’. Well, with your field of study, you stand a very good chance of fulfilling your desire, as Aeronautical/Aerospace engineers get an opportunity to work as astronauts at NASA. Even though the selection process is stringent and on an average only 1% of the field applications are selected, as much as 36% of NASA employees are of Indian origin.

So, if you have a burning desire and a strong will to explore the space, then opportunities are always waiting for you. You just have to know how to grab them!NASA not only provides glorious opportunities but also gives alluring pay. However, getting into the world’s top most space research organization needs long years of training and a lot of hard work. A career with NASA is definitely very exciting and extremely creative but then getting that one chance requires going through a lot of uphill struggle and tough competition.

Primarily, joining NASA requires a unique blend of personality traits like:

  • High expertise and extraordinary technical skills
  • Unusual problem solving skills, creativity and team work
  • You need to be a proficient scientist with excellent scientific caliber
  • Computer knowledge (Kalpana Chawla stood out from amongst the other significant astronaut corps because she had amazing computational skills)
  • Flight experience
  • English language skills

As you are a non US citizen, you need to attain a permanent residence first and then get a citizenship. After your engineering, I would suggest you pursue studies in astronomy (preferably in US). You then stand a greater chance to work as an intern with NASA. Many of them have begun their careers at NASA by doing an internship with the organisation. Check each of the NASA centers to see if any of them offer training/internship programs for non US citizens. Also, simultaneously apply for residency and citizenship.

The other option could be that you do your PhD and then join NASA as a scientist The Indian Space Program works on joint projects and on an exchange basis with NASA, therefore you can start by joining the ISP first. The closest could be the US Embassy in Tokyo. You will have the privilege of working indirectly for NASA, which can further help you join NASA as a civil servant.

NASA contracts out most of their works to other companies. These companies have their own rules for employment. An Indian can indirectly work for NASA by working for one of those companies. If you pursue your career by applying your talents in a determined and in a right way you shall definitely reach heights! Try all your best and see that nothing holds you back!! For additional information refer the official web site of NASA: www.nasa.gov

Is it possible to crack the IIT JEE entrance without joining a coaching class? Please give some tips - Mohan Chotia, King Koti

If you have strong belief in your abilities and aptitude, you can surely do so. To get a decent score in this so called “toughest” engineering exam, you need to give in ample time for its preparation.

Some tips would be:

First and foremost to combat the stress that this task brings, start with a positive approach. Be focused and mentally prepared for the grind. Research says that 70% of the exam preparation is done through self study and self practice

Make an analysis of your strengths and weaknesses. Use your strengths as your motivators and work on your weaknesses

Then methodically prepare a study plan. Follow the plan stringently to utilize your time in the best possible way

Visit the site and get information regarding the entire syllabus covered in the exam. Allot time for each topic depending on its difficulty, like more time for the tougher ones and so on.

Make use of all online help resources like practice papers and analytics. Network with students who have cleared this exam and also with your teachers. Discuss with them and this could help you improve your knowledge rapidly. Also, take their valuable advice on the books to be referred for studying and stick to the effective books only.

Make an exam strategy and understand how to attempt various questions during the exams

While practicing previous year’s questions papers, time yourself accordingly and also practice them in the same time slot as your final exams, i.e. if you plan to appear in the 9-12 slot, practice these papers at the same time. Take a print out of the cheat sheets, as this has a broad list of everything needed to crack the exams. You can use it as a reference any time you have a doubt.

Try and create shortcuts or anagrams or charts to remember formulae or important facts and information. To maintain a balance between your physical and mental state, remember this simple formula: Eat right + Exercise + Sleep well = fit body and a healthy mind. As there is no substitute to practice. Be consistent in your practice and this will boost your confidence levels.

By:Shehre Banu Kagalwala

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