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NASA has one of the best systems for recruitment, selection and development of undergraduate and graduate students in STEM disciplines.

They build partnerships with colleges and universities to recruit talented students to take part in internships with NASA researchers.

Last summer Deshaun Crawford had the opportunity of doing an internship at NASA Ames Research Center. He is a computer science major at Delaware State University.

The former NASA Scholar has already secured a position as one of Apple’s advertising platform software engineers after graduation.

“I learned a lot during my NASA internship,” Deshaun said, “because I had an intelligent mentor named Ray Gilstrap who taught me enough to set me apart from other students when applying to become an Apple Scholar,” he said.

Raymond T. Gilstrap, a 2013 BEYA Modern-Day Technology Leader Award winner, is a network engineer at NASA Ames. As acting Chief Technology Officer of IT for Ames, he has been responsible for key technologies and technology trends with the potential to enhance information technology services for NASA missions, projects, and users.

“I believe it’s important for students to hang around people that are going in the same direction. It’s also essential to help the people around you excel and help them get where they want to go,” Desahun said.

“My experience of becoming an Apple scholar opened up a huge array of opportunities to work with and learn from some of the world’s greatest engineers and network with influential individuals in my industry, including other students,” he added.

Create Support Networks

“Networking is key. Make sure you are making the right connections because the connections you make may provide many opportunities down the road.”

Develop Time Management Skills

With an active life encompassing academic and field studies, among other extracurricular focuses, success in college will require extremely honed time management skills, according to Deshaun.

“College life is filled with obligations and things to do,” he said. “You will have to find a balance between school and work, family and friends, and your own personal time. It may be a challenge, but it can definitely be done.”

Maintain Your Motivation

“I am the first person in my family to attend college. Personally, I would like to set an example for all of my younger siblings and create change for all of my other family members. Professionally, I want to use what I achieve to take away barriers from individuals that face barriers from the moment they are brought into the world. I want to help individuals get from where I started to where I am now. I believe I can do anything until proven otherwise, and I encourage other students to do the same. Set a goal for yourself, complete it, connect it to your next goal, and do it again.”

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