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Making an Impact at NASA

Each year, ECS puts out a call to our intern/co-op supervisors encouraging them to nominate outstanding Ohio State engineering students for our Student Impact Award. This is an annual distinction given to a student who made an exemplary and unparalleled impact on a company during their stay as a co-op or intern. This past year, 23 students were nominated for the award. Congrats to our two winners: Mikala Malkus, who worked at the NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, and Ben Kott, who worked at NASA Glenn Research Center.

Mikala Malkus will be graduating with her B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering this upcoming May and then will be going on to pursue her M.S. in that same field with a graduation date of May 2021. Below are two quotes from her supervisor:

What impact did this student have on your organization?   

Mikala's capabilities allowed her to take the lead on a critical area of technology development which enabled precious resources to be vectored to other critical areas. Her results directly proved some new approaches on how to leverage existing masses to mitigate undesirable responses of structures and systems. The results from her work are being incorporated into the SLS rocket design. They are also being seriously evaluated for applications in the upcoming lunar lander design, an in-space artificial gravity demonstration, and multiple DOD and industry applications.

What makes this student stand out among others and deserving of the Student Impact award?
Mikala showed incredible initiative in tackling her multiple assignments. Her drive combined with her engineering skills allowed her to demonstrate new capabilities and approaches that will soon find their way into text books. The other thing that was highly impressive is her communication skills. She was a pure joy to work with and made everyone else around her better. She was a true asset for the team.

Ben Kott will be graduating in May 2021 with his B.S. in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering. Below are excerpts of his nomination:

What impact did the student have on your organization?
Ben’s work allowed NASA researchers to analyze and interpret complex experimental results in a streamlined fashion. In addition to strong computer and technical skills, Ben has excellent communication skills both in terms of oral presentation and writing. This was impactful because it allowed Ben to effectively communicate and document his work which is very important in any organization. Furthermore, we are currently working to convert his final internship report into a NASA publication which will have a lasting impact.

What makes this student stand out among others and deserving of the Student Impact award?
Ben is a very talented engineering student who has stood out among his peers as a NASA intern. Ben has had a significant impact at NASA by developing a sophisticated analysis tool which has allowed fellow researchers to analyze and interpret complex experimental results in a very streamlined fashion. His work was of such high quality that we are planning to convert his final internship report into a NASA publication. Moreover, his work has the potential to impact the aviation industry through future ice accretion computer simulation tools which may ultimately use results from Ben’s work.

Check out the full list of nominees HERE. Who knows – maybe YOU will be the winner of the 2020 Student Impact Award award!

“Success is no accident.  It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” - Pele

About the author

Katy Arenschield

Katy Arenschield is the Engineering Co-op and Internship Program Manager.