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MICUA Matters Newsletter

St. John's Student Interns with NASA

Spring 2017

When St. John’s College junior Catherine Baldwin was in second grade she learned about the Apollo 11 crew and was fascinated. "I remember thinking that was the most amazing and terrifying thing I ever heard," Baldwin said.

Baldwin’s interest in space travel led her to an internship last summer at the NASA History Program Office in Washington, D.C. funded by the Hodson Trust Internship program.

During the internship Baldwin wrote articles for and helped reorganize the NASA website, assisted with events, and posted historical facts about NASA and other space agencies on social media. Baldwin also wrote about the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services program and the making of the Apollo 11 patch. The internship coincided with the coming film release of “Hidden Figures,” a story on African-American women who were influential in the early days of space exploration. Baldwin’s supervisor, Dr. Bill Barry, worked with the film’s director to ensure the movie's accuracy.

The work reinforced Baldwin’s love for space and the history of the space race of the 1960s between the U.S. and USSR. Baldwin's interest persisted at St. John’s where she loved learning about astronomy during her sophomore year, and took advantage of observation opportunities on campus. “It’s cool, to say the least, to see where theories start rather than just seeing the end,” she says. “There were centuries of people looking up at the stars before we even got to go.”

Baldwin says she’s busy reading the book Psychology of Space Exploration, a topic she is considering for a career. “I’m interested in the people aspect of space exploration. I’d like to work with astronauts in a psychological way.”