Nikki Lazarus '16Externship Host: Dr. Ari Brown '99, Electronics Engineer, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Externship Location: Greenbelt, MD
Hometown: Seattle, WA
Major: electrical engineering
On Campus Activities: Executive Programming Chair for Activities & Campus Events (ACE), tour guide, Undergraduate Research Assistant, member of Chi Omega
Career/Life Goals: To work in the aerospace industry

My Externship experience:
Right off the bat, I had the opportunity to watch Dr. Brown work with other engineers to fix a machine that NASA recently purchased. Since it was during winter break, I was also invited to their Christmas party and met with a lot other engineers in the Detector Systems Branch. Chatting and listening to their stories about past missions they have worked on was completely surreal. I was surrounded by so many talented people. Dr. Brown also took me on a tour of the grounds, which was bigger than all of the NASA facilities combined. I was able to see all of the projects that NASA is currently working on. The next day, we went into a clean room where I wore a bunny suit and was able to see some of Dr. Brown's personal projects firsthand. At the end of the day, we chatted about his work experience and how he arrived at where he is today.

What was the most beneficial part of your Externship experience?
My externship was a very rewarding experience and definitely helped me solidify my career choice. Unlike many engineering students, I never thought about being an engineer until I arrived at Bucknell. Though I like all of my classes, I have always doubted whether this major was right for me. Shadowing a professional at NASA, a place that I have always been fascinated with, helped me realize that this is truly what I want to do with my life. Now every time I struggle with a class, I think about my externship which reminds me of the incredible career opportunities that exist for someone with my major.

Would you recommend the Externship program to current students?
I would definitely recommend the Externship program to current students. I have not talked to a single student who has had a bad experience with this program. Even students who decided to switch majors because of their externship said that they are glad that they found out early on that this is not the right career choice for them.