3 SNC Interns Share What It’s Like To Start Your Career Working On Spacecraft And Satellites

Liam Berry
3 SNC Interns Share What It’s Like To Start Your Career Working On Spacecraft And Satellites
Sponsored by, Sierra Nevada Corporation

If there’s one thing about Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) that stands out, it’s the type of work they do. They work on spacecraft, satellites, and technology that saves lives. And that goes for their interns, too. In fact, you might even work alongside an astronaut or one of their immigrant-turned-billionaire owners.

No matter what, you won’t forget interning at SNC. Just take it from these three interns.

1. Gracie Didn’t Get Coffee—She Worked Thermal Systems for a NASA Spacecraft

As an intern in SNC’s Space Systems Group, Gracie was able to work on one of the most exciting projects at SNC: the Dream Chaser® spaceplane. Originally designed for manned flight, the Dream Chaser has since become an official NASA-backed cargo ship that will transport critical supplies to the International Space Station.

Incredible? Yes. Intimidating? How could it not be? Well, Gracie says SNC didn’t hesitate to ground big-picture goals and thinking with training and support.

“SNC expects results from its interns, but gives us all the tools to ensure we are supported along the way, such that the results are effective and we learn as much as possible,” she explains.

Whether it’s roundtables with former astronauts, one-on-one sessions with company vice presidents, or daily work with assigned mentors, SNC made sure Gracie and her fellow interns had what they needed, not just to boost their resume, but to contribute to high-stakes projects like the Dream Chaser from day one.

2. Ayotunde Spent Two Summers Working On a Mission to Save Our Species (And Getting Invaluable Engineering Experience)

For Ayotunde, a two-time SNC intern, working at SNC wasn’t just an opportunity to learn first-hand about aerospace engineering. It was an opportunity to contribute to saving the human race.

“SNC is one of a few companies working hard to progress humans into a more space-faring society,” he explains. “I truly believe that society will need to make a shift towards space in order to ensure a brighter, safer future and so I see all the work I do here as vital to our species.”

Beyond that mission, Ayotunde found a community of people who care not only about bringing humans to space, but also progressing his development. As a rule, SNC wants people who are willing to learn, and you don’t need to be a full-fledged rocket scientist when you start to work there. That’s why Ayotunde’s manager gave him so many opportunities to work on projects that would teach valuable skills.

“I’ve gained experience that most interns don’t get the chance to do. I’ve run my own tests, designed flight parts and test articles, and gained a lot of experience in what I’m actually interested in,” he says. “I had a very supportive team at each internship that was more than happy to help guide me while I adjusted to the group.”

Of course, it helped that he was doing exactly the type of work he dreamed of doing when he decided to major in Aerospace Engineering.

“When I first started working at SNC, it was my first internship within the space field, and work didn’t feel like work,” he says. “My overall happiness and excitement to come into work and continue my projects was extremely high.”

3. Abigail Helped Protect Her Country While Her Mentor Guided Her Growth

Abigail spent her summer 2020 internship in the Integrated Mission Systems group working on technology that helps protect national security in the United States. Some examples of this SNC tech include tech that helps counter improvised explosive devices.

“During my summer internship at SNC, I was working on a project that will be used for the protection of the United States. I loved the fact that I was able to make a useful contribution to the industry and that what I worked on was important,” she says.

In addition to the gravity of the work, her assigned mentor and the willingness of every employee to help her out made Abigail feel as though SNC’s program was a path to make even more of a difference in the future.

“They made sure I had everything I needed and were more than willing to connect me with people within SNC to help me achieve a better understanding of where I could possibly end up in my future career,” she says.

Of course, the internship was also an opportunity to connect with other people and have some fun, even in the midst of a pandemic. Whether it was through virtual intern events or a program-wide photo contest with prizes, SNC made sure interns still got the chance to build a network with their peers.

Where Could Your Career Go With An SNC Internship?

From engineering to software to finance (and beyond) SNC offers students of all backgrounds the opportunity to change their careers for the better—and do the same for their country and species.

Want to make your mark at an aerospace and defense leader? Check out open positions at Sierra Nevada Corporation on WayUp!