Michael Plocinik ‘22, an Aeronautical Engineering major in the Honors Program at Clarkson University, recently received news that he has secured an internship with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in its History Division.
Plocinik said he found out about the internship from Associate Professor of Mechanical & Aeronautical Engineering Ken Visser and was immediately attracted to the idea of participating in such a prestigious internship.
“I felt that working at NASA – you know, the NASA – would probably feel just as thrilling as reaching the moon, even if I am not yet the one designing the aircraft to do so,” Plocinik said. “After reading the job description and requirements, I truly felt that I would be a good fit for the position. The listing was looking for students with a strong background in writing and editing, and while I am an engineering major, I do work as a tutor at Clarkson’s Writing Center, so I thought I would be adequately qualified.”
In his role with the History Division, Plocinik will be managing social media accounts, writing features for NASA’s website, reviewing historical manuscripts, researching historical questions, and performing assorted other support tasks. Plocinik said he is eager to gain a new perspective on the field of aeronautics.
“I’ll have my whole life to focus on my career in the engineering aspect of aeronautics, so this internship will be an incredible opportunity to research topics related to my field of interest while also giving me some variety and depth early in my professional experiences,” he said. “I am also excited about the opportunity to do some networking and meet people to connect me to the engineering side of the company because of course, my ultimate goal is to help create aircraft, not just research and write about them. This internship will be a great chance for me to get in touch with some key contacts.”
Aside from gaining an education in Aeronautical Engineering, Plocinik also said many of the other interpersonal skills he has picked up in his time at Clarkson were helpful in preparing him for his upcoming experience with NASA.
“Knowing how to speak professionally, make a good impression, build a strong network, and communicate ideas clearly are equally, if not more important as having technical knowledge and strong academics. I’ve had the chance to practice these soft skills at Clarkson’s Career Fair each semester,” he said. “I am incredibly grateful for this practice because I learned from other interviews and conversations with employers how to best prepare myself for the application process of this NASA position. I also had the benefit of improving my own writing skills while working with Catherine Sajna, the director of the Writing Center.”