January 7, 2010
The New Year will bring Ceena Hall, a senior electrical engineering student from Houston, face to face with NASA scientists and top engineering students from across the country as part of the NASA Undergraduate Student Research Program (USRP) — a highly competitive internship program that pairs university students with researchers at the space agency.
Beginning in January, Hall will work directly in support of the Project Management Branch and the Electronic Design & Development Branch in work supporting the agency's Engineering and Avionics Division at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Specifically, she and her fellow interns will help develop communication systems that transfer data, voice, and video communications between ground systems and space vehicles.
The internship, and the opportunity to contribute to a NASA space mission, will begin in January 2010 and run through May 2010.
Kathy Hubbard, Director of the Center for Engineering Leadership which assists students with professional development and internship opportunities, says SMU has not placed a student in NASA's program in more than 10 years. Hall's acceptance is a testament to the quality of students the school produces and its position as a national leader in engineering education.
"I know it [USRP] is a really competitive program," Hubbard says. "It is my understanding that NASA only accepts the top 2-3 percent of applicants each year, so we think this speaks volumes about Ceena and the education she has received at the Lyle School of Engineering."
Hall is an active participant in the SMU Lyle School's scholarship programs, which place innovative thinkers in highly coveted positions where they can make a difference in the workplace. In addition to the aerospace industry, which she will soon explore, Hall has contributed to renewable energy projects in the Mergers and Acquisitions Department at Hunt Oil Co. She is also active in Delta Sigma Theta, The Student Advisory Board for the Department of Electrical Engineering, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the Association of Black Students.
The NASA student research program's stated mission aligns with SMU Lyle School of Engineering's commitment to preparing students for careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). SMU Lyle programs such as The Infinity Project (K-12 engineering curriculum), Engineering Camp for Girls, and Visioneering (a celebration of National Engineers Week that draws 1,000 middle school students annually) prepare and encourage the next generation of engineers, while career development programs provide university students advanced skills training and invaluable networking opportunities.
About the SMU Lyle School of Engineering
The SMU Lyle School of Engineering is committed to developing the new American engineer, one prepared to excel and lead in creating new economic opportunities while meeting the most difficult challenges facing society. The Lyle School maintains a steadfast focus on using engineering to address important issues both at home and around the world.
Founded in 1925 and located in the heart of Dallas, the Lyle School is one of the oldest engineering schools in the Southwest. The school offers eight undergraduate and 29 graduate programs, including both masters and doctorate levels.