Student Opportunities

The BETTII project relies substantially on the talents of undergraduate interns, student workers, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers. Involving young scientists and engineers with BETTII will develop the technical and leadership expertise required for success in future space-based interferometer missions.

In the summer 2011 internship season, for example, students worked on BETTII's attitude control system, system modeling, truss fabrication planning, fringe tracking instrumentation, and structural design. It is expected that student interns, graduate students, and post-doctoral researchers will continue to make important contributions to the mission and create a storehouse of expertise and experience that NASA missions can draw on in the future.

Students interested in internship opportunities at NASA sould visit the Student On-Line Application for Recruiting interns, fellows, and scholars (SOLAR).

Register in SOLAR to create an account, search for available opportunities, and apply. The application process occurs solely within the SOLAR system; please do not contact BETTII Science Team members directly.

Internship opportunities for the Summer 2012 season will be open to applications from Nov. 1, 2011, to Feb. 1, 2012.

To learn more about education-related NASA programs, pleaase visit the NASA One Stop Shopping Initiative Launchpad.

If you have questions regarding policies and procedures for the internship program, please contact:

David Rosage
NASA Goddard Adminsitrator for SOLAR at NASA Goddard





Student projects

What do students do when they work on BETTII?



Video of BETTII interns in the fall 2012

Among many other things that students have done, here is a glimpse of a few topics they have worked on

Cool CAD (that ends up being built):

K-mirrorWarm Delay Line  

Main optics bench (cryogenic)



Block diagram of the whole BETTII system, including all the cables and most connectors

Opening of one controller to list the large capacitors



Tons of hands-on experience


Sajeela studying the vibration modes in the structure by whacking it with a hammer and recording accelerometer responses Cryogenic test of a rotation, a gyroscope, and a laser, in a student-made vacuum chamber


Heart of the FPGA code of BETTII's control system. Who can figure out what's going on?

Our Current Graduate Students

Maxime Rizzo
Project: Systems, controls
University of Maryland, College Park, Astronomy


Arnab Dhabal
Project: Optics
University of Maryland, College Park, Astronomy

Our Current Interns

Joe Gibson

Yamil O Huertas Morales


Fall 2014 Interns

Peter Taraschi

Caitlin Elizabeth Gibbons
Project: Mechanical design of structures to hold the far and near infrared internal optical systems
The Pennsylvania State University, Mechanical Engineering
I would like to continue in the aerospace industry, either working for NASA or one of its contractors.


Summer 2013 Interns

Albert Spencer Gore
Project: Telescope and external optics mechanical design, TREEHOUSE systems integration
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Physics and Aerospace Engineering
Arpan Rau
Project: Worked on designing components for flight BETTII, as well as writing code and assembling the summer test exoskeleton TREEHOUSE
Naperville North High School, (planned) Aerospace engineering
I am still in high school, but I plan to get out as soon as I possibly can and go engineer more things.

Arpan Rau

Stephen Weinreich
Project: Worked on the collection and analysis of sensor data to measure the modes of TREEHOUSE and isolate external vibrations; designed and assembled a wiring harness for the summer project.
Brown University, Electrical Engineering
I hope to go to graduate school to further my education and better prepare me for a future career.
John Alcorn

Marcelo Canaparro

Debora Freitas de Andrade

Sophie Johnson-Shapoval


Spring 2013 Interns

Sophie Johnson-Shapoval

John Alcorn

Jamesa Stokes

Sajeela Padder
Project: Conducted vibrational analysis of the truss, specifically trying to confirm if the frequency nodes we test are what was expected in the model. Tested the response of the truss to an impulse as well as to specific frequencies.
University of Maryland, College Park - Physics & Arabic
Currently works at MicroStrategy, Inc. Past experiences include an internship at NASA Langley Research Center in the Structural Acoustics branch, as well as membrane biophysics research at UMD under Dr. Marco Colombini.


Sajeela Padder

Fall 2012 Interns

Lucas Sousa de Oliveira
Project: I started building a custom-made SPI communication module using an aquisition board, programmed the embedded system to control the star-camera and the motor on the Rubble Experiment, and worked on studying/building one a modern digital controller using a FPGA.
University of Brasilia, Brazil, Mechatronics Engineer
I learned a lot through this internship, both in the personal and the professional spheres, and this inspired me to grow. While planning to graduate soon and enter the market, I'm trying to improve myself as an enterpreneur, and as a person. I'm not quite sure yet what my next challenge will be but I'm very confident I'll do my best to positively impact it.

Lucas Sousa de Oliveira

Pedro Henrique Doria Nehme
Project 1: Development of an instrumentation system for Rubble in order to gather important flight information (accelerometer, inclinometer, compass, GPS module, temperature sensors, quad photodiode array, flexible heater). The system is managed by microcontrollers.
Project 2: Designed a pressurized chamber that simulates the pressure and temperature conditions at this altitude, so we can test the equipment and make sure everything works the way they were supposed to.
University of Brasilia, Electrical Engineering
I am currently working on my senior design project - an autonomous retrieval balloon platform, that uses a paraglider to control it’s trajectory and glide back to the launch site. Also I’ve given some talks on Space Turism business and new possibilities of space exploration, since I won a worldwide competition for a co-pilot seat on the Lynx Mark II. For the future, I envision myself working on meaningful space projects that give new perspectives to people, from scientists to communities in need.
Hannah Spooner
Project: Lead Engineer for the Representative Unit for BETTII/BOBCATT Limited Experiments (rest in peace, RUBBLE)
University of Maryland, College Park, Aerospace Engineering
I worked at NASA Ames Research Center this past summer reconditioning and re-instrumenting a decommissioned wind tunnel.  

Hannah Spooner

Sophie Johnson-Shapoval

Summer 2012 Interns

Spencer Gore

Hannah Spooner
Project: Lead Engineer for the Representative Unit for BETTII/BOBCATT Limited Experiments (rest in peace, RUBBLE)
University of Maryland, College Park, Aerospace Engineering
I worked at NASA Ames Research Center this past summer reconditioning and re-instrumenting a decommissioned wind tunnel.  


Hannah Spooner

Jen Doiron

Bryan Hoffman
University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Mechanical Engineering and Physics

Lucas Sousa de Oliveira

Pedro Nehme




2011 Fall Interns

Anthony Cotto

Nicole Mihalko

2011 Summer Interns

intern mosaic bar

Carlee Wagner
Project: Prepare for carbon fiber assembly and testing
University of Pennsylvania
Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mechanics & Mathematics

Bryan Hoffman
Project: BETTII structural design
University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Mechanical Engineering and Physics

Will Tierney
Project: Assist in design of the attitude control and determination system.
Rochester Institute of Technology
Mechanical Engineering (Aero option)

Todd Kale
Project: Assisting with the development of the fringe tracking system
University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Physics & Mathematics

Roger Curley (not pictured above)
Project: Prototyping BETTII's attitude determination system
University of Maryland, College Park