Lunar and Planetary Institute


Katie Bell, Imperial College London
Being an LPI intern has been an awesome experience. The staff work really hard to make your time unforgettable, and that's exactly what it is. My project involved modelling rift systems on Venus to give an insight into Venus' thermal structure. My advisors were a supportive base and always there to offer their guidance as I was undergoing my work. The advisors on the program really want you to do well and to have a fulfilling summer, so the projects that the interns work on are challenging and engaging. The administrative staff also plays a key role during your time at the LPI, with all the fun tours that they organize over at the Johnson Space Centre. A personal highlight would have to be the robotics tour and riding in a moon buggy prototype! Overall this internship will certainly whet your appetite for a career in planetary science. The experience has been amazing, and the skills I've gained and the people I've met with stay with me well into the future.

Shannon Boyle, Rutgers University
The summer intern program at the Lunar and Planetary Institute is a great opportunity to grow as a scientist and meet your future colleagues. I worked with Dr. Cyrena Goodrich on determining the origin of calcic plagioclase in polymict ureilites. In doing so, I worked extensively on the JEOL field emission electron microprobe at the Johnson Space Center and gained an incredible amount of technical experience. The skills I obtained during this internship will increase my employability and aid in my continued academic career. If you can handle the Houston heat, this internship is absolutely worth it. It was a great learning experience and a lot of fun.

Scott Eckley, University of Tennessee
My time at the LPI has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with others. I have grown as a scientist and as a person. From the research to the friendships, I have enjoyed every second of this ten-week experience. Having the opportunity to meet the scientists who are at the top of their respective fields and use some of the best instrumentation that science can offer was an amazing experience. While ten weeks was a short time, I will cherish this experience for a lifetime.

Hunter Edwards, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Spending the summer at the Lunar and Planetary Institute as a summer Intern has been an experience that I will never forget. I have made new friends, met acclaimed planetary scientists, and have learned a lot over the 10 weeks I spent in Houston. The Lunar and Planetary Institute made sure that we enjoyed our time here for the summer. We were able to listen to talks given by great scientists, visit famous space-related facilities at the Johnson Space Center, as well as meet an astronaut! There were weekly movie nights and an occasional ice-cream or barbecue social event. The employees and scientists at the LPI truly made me, and the others feel like we were at home.

The Interns were also able to learn how to use instrumentation. In my case, I learned how to do X-ray Diffraction (XRD) as well as scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). These skills will be beneficial throughout my scientific career. My advisor, Dr. Patricia Craig, taught me a lot and gave me excellent guidance throughout this internship. Overall, the opportunity to be an intern at the LPI is something that I will cherish for the rest of my life. The people I met; the things I was able to do; and the vast knowledge I accrued would be difficult to be matched by any other program.

Liam Hoare, University of Bristol
My experience during my time as an LPI intern really served to ignite my passion for planetary science, and I learned a great deal as a result. I thoroughly enjoyed every moment, from working on a project I was really interested in, getting hands-on experience conducting cutting-edge research, meeting scientists who are leading experts within their respective fields to the amazing tours to NASA’s Johnson Space Center and also making new friends. David Kring and Martin Schmieder were great advisors, and I enjoyed working with them studying an LL-chondrite meteorite. The skills I have learnt from this program will be invaluable going forward in the future. I would definitely recommend applying for this internship to anyone who is interested in planetary science or wants to get a better perspective of what doing cutting-edge scientific research is all about.

Zoe Hodges, Durham University
Taking part in the LPI Summer Intern Program has been a privilege. My advisor, Dr. David Mittlefehldt, has been a pleasure to work with throughout my project, examining the petrology of igneous clasts in howardite meteorites. As an undergraduate, to be able to carry out fascinating research alongside world-class scientists really is a rare and exciting opportunity, and this internship definitely delivers. The many inspiring tours and seminars open your eyes to the vast range of areas that this field of research holds. This internship has not only given me an incredible insight into the world of planetary science, but also great friendships that will last a lifetime. I will no doubt use the skills and experience gained here in the future – fingers crossed, as a planetary scientist!

Rushana Karimova, Jacobs University Bremen
This internship was an amazing opportunity for me to conduct exciting research and learn a lot both about the Moon and about my own interests within planetary sciences. I enjoyed working with my advisors who were very helpful and encouraging. Ten weeks went by really fast because there was always something interesting happening. The tours to various labs and facilities at the Johnson Space Center, the seminars and socials, as well as the movie nights made the internship not only a great learning and research opportunity, but also great fun. Everyone at the LPI helped me feel welcome here, and I look forward to meeting my fellow interns and scientists at conferences in the future. 

Calder Patterson, Carleton University
During the 2016 LPI Summer Intern Program, I worked with Buck Sharpton to investigate the morphology of the Haughton Impact Structure. Something I really appreciated about my mentor is that he gave me a high degree of independence, so I was able to explore my project at my own pace and approach it creatively. I had no previous experience in the field of impact cratering, but Buck was always around to point me in the right direction. At the end of the internship I was very pleased with the outcome of my project, and I look forward to expanding on what I’ve done in the future. Beyond my project, the atmosphere at LPI was extremely friendly, and everyone was always willing to help with whatever problems I and the other interns ran into. We were taken on a lot of fun and exciting tours of the labs and facilities at the NASA Johnson Space Center, and we were fortunate to be given many interesting presentations in our weekly Brown Bag seminars, which covered a wide variety of subjects in planetary and space science. During our 10 weeks at LPI, all of the interns became good friends, and I hope to see them time and time again as we continue to advance in our careers.

Colleen E. Laird, Case Western Reserve University
My sunny summer as an intern at the Johnson Space Center (courtesy of LPI) was a fun and interesting experience. The opportunity to infiltrate the community of NASA scientists as essentially a planetary science padawan was enlightening and inspiring. I would have never been able to understand the dedication and passion of these scientists without seeing them in action, solving problems and speaking enthusiastically about their goals and accomplishments. One of the highlights of my experience was my advisor, Dr. Marc Fries. He was always willing to offer assistance when I needed it (often adding some fantastic fun facts and stories to our daily check-ins), but he also treated me like a valuable colleague whom he could trust to work independently from the very beginning. This gave me the space and support to make huge leaps in skill and confidence as a student and researcher. The LPI Internship program challenged me to complete a complex research project in ten weeks, as well as construct a platform that made it very easy to enjoy the summer and build friendships with the other interns. I will always be grateful to LPI for providing me this amazing opportunity and facilitating some pretty incredible memories.

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