Shooting for the Stars

Kaya Jones aspired to hone her computing skills the summer before beginning her college experience as a computer science major. She found her chance with NASA’s Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) Internship Project.

“I became intrigued about space flight back in 2020 when I watched the SpaceX launch with Bob [Behnken] and Doug [Hurley],” Kaya says. “I just knew I wanted to be a part of that culture. Doing something that improved my skills over the summer was very important to me, so NASA was an opportunity that I could not pass up.”

She joined the Project Data Management Analysis at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Working remotely, Jones used GitLab and Visual Studio Code to update and implement application programming interface (API) documentation. She also designated, implemented, and visualized API data using Rest APIs and GraphQL. With this knowledge, she developed a dashboard that shows exploratory API data.

API allows applications to talk to each other, Kaya explains.

“Developers want to use an API to get information for their application,” Kaya says. “If I was building a movie app and I needed a list of all of the latest movies, instead of going out and finding that information on my own I would use an API and call that information so it will be viewed in my application. In order to learn how to connect the API to my application, I would have to read the documentation that shows the steps on how to connect to the API, get an API key, and a list of parameters.”

Kaya says the internship taught her many valuable skills to prepare her for college, including boosting her computing skills, learning time management, working with teams, and networking. It also exposed her to the world of data science.

“I knew that I wanted to be in computer science once I entered college,” she says. “My project was focused on data science, so my internship showed various aspects of computer science I could dive into. My time at NASA also allowed me to think about pursuing a master's degree in data science.”

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