A Life-Changing Experience

An internship at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston provided an extraordinary opportunity for Amr Alshatnawi to build new skills and strengthen his values of scholarship, excellence, and service.

“Working at NASA was a life-changing experience that was filled with lots of surprises,” he says. “I was very surprised to see how much impact NASA interns have on the agency. As a NASA intern you are trusted with the responsibility of a full-time employee to work on impactful projects that will help us go back to the moon and then to Mars.”

Amr spent the fall 2022 semester supporting the Human Physiology, Performance, Protection, and Operations Lab by working on the Space Suit and Exploration Operations team on a project called Helmet Mounted Display. The project aims to enhance astronauts’ situational awareness during underwater extravehicular activity training at NASA’s Neutral Buoyancy Laboratory by providing real-time biofeedback and other extravehicular parameters. Part of Amr’s work included testing hardware and validating software.

“This experience exposed me to different ideas and programs that increased my curiosity to further understand the world of technology, and learn how we can use it to advance humanity and make a difference,” he says. “My goal is to always work on impactful projects and help make a positive change, and the work we do at NASA allows me to pursue this goal and make a positive difference in the world.” 

Amr says the curriculum of Illinois Tech’s Master of Artificial Intelligence program incorporates the tools that are needed to build essential skills in the fast-growing world of AI and to prepare for internships like the one that he just finished.

“I believe that the courses at Illinois Tech will supply me with the knowledge and expertise I need to advance my skills and achieve my goals,” he says.

Amr worked closely with astronauts at the Johnson Space Center during his internship, which led to a number of fascinating conversations on a daily basis.

“I met a lot of incredible people at NASA, and made many great memories,” he says. “A highlight from my last NASA experience has to be our astronaut-intern kickball game. It was a great time, and we had a lot of fun. It was once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to defeat an astronaut, and of course I couldn’t miss that chance.”

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