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What is the GLOBE Student Blog and why it is useful? The GLOBE Student Blog is a place for IVSS or SRS student alumni to share about their learning journeys through the SRS or IVSS process. We believe that firsthand experiences from GLOBE students are some of the best learning resources for our student community. To learn more about how to submit a blog entry, check out the Instructions page.

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NASA Scientists Are Real People Too

by Royce Jacobs, 16 years old, USA - IVSS Student 2018, 2019

19 February, 2021

"So, your homework for tonight is to draft an email to the NASA scientist that will be overseeing your project.” Did she just say what I thought she just said!?! Write a what !?! To who!?! Write an email to a NASA scientist introducing myself. Not just a text, or a DM. Write an email, like a full letter. I felt like this was the most high-pressure homework assignment of my life. A NASA scientist. Wow. OK. I got this.

I quickly found out that in addition to the academic, science and research lessons that you will learn by participating in the GLOBE Program, you will also learn a lot about communication and confidence. After I drafted that email introducing myself, my teacher provided feedback and we revised it. I learned about written communication. How to write a letter that articulated what I wanted to say clearly and in a respectful way. I realized that my style of writing had to be a little different than when I was writing a 5 paragraph essay for English class or texting a friend. After we sent the email, I remember being so excited and shocked …. the NASA scientist emailed me back! And they seemed nice!

Working with the scientists was a great experience. They are nice, and respectful. They didn’t talk down to us because we are students. They treated us like scientists. They are there to assist us and guide us, to help us learn how to do good research. I realized that they want us to succeed. That being said, I definitely had to up my game. I made sure that every time I emailed them with a question or comment, that it was a well written, thoughtful email. I worked extra hard knowing that my work was being reviewed not only by my classmates and teacher, but by a NASA scientist.

I found that the scientists were supportive and encouraged me to do my best work, which ended up being better than I thought it could be. Once the research project “Atmospheric Rivers: How Do Atmospheric Rivers Affect the Precipitation in Medford, NJ, USA?” was completed, I had the opportunity to present our research at the 2018 Northeast SRS (back when we could meet in person). The first time I met a real scientist in person, was at the “Eat and Greet” Welcome Event the night before the SRS. It was an intimidating thought at first, as I have never talked to someone so important before. When I finally worked up the courage to walk over and introduce myself, it was no different than talking to anyone else. I introduced myself and asked who he was and what he did. He asked about the research I did (He was interested in what I had to say!) and I talked about it for a few minutes before saying see you tomorrow at the symposium. It was a quick and easy experience. 10/10. I would (and did) do again.

By working with scientists, I learned how to communicate professionally via email. I also learned how to introduce myself and meet and network with other students and other scientists in person. I learned how to speak and communicate verbally in a professional way, both in a more casual setting, but also when presenting my research. But I think the biggest thing I gained by working with the scientists is my self-confidence. If a NASA scientist respects me and believes that I can be a successful scientist, then I believe I can too."