Every July 2 Edwin Betady celebrates his birthday and this year was especially meaningful as he had other news to celebrate — his first paid position interning for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, commonly known as NASA.
A Turlock local and student at Merced College, Betady spent the previous fall semester participating in an online NASA program that ended with a three day trip to the jet propulsion center in Pasadena. While there, Betady worked with other selected students to create a small scale rover.
"It was absolutely amazing. Working with a team and actually developing something together... It sort of tells you 'is this for me or not?' And I loved every second of it. I would love to do that on a day to day basis as a career," said Betady last March.
Little did Betady know that a year later he would be leaving Merced College once again but this time for a full semester to participate in a paid internship at the NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View. While there Betady will be working full time conducting research on rotor crafts, or helicopters and aircrafts that are powered by propellers instead of jet engines. More specifically, Betady will work on the rotor crafts in wind tunnels in order to make them more efficient.
Betady has come a long way since his days of working at an airport where seeing the planes each day initially inspired him to return to school to pursue aerospace engineering. Now fulfilling his dream of working at NASA — even if for a short time — Betady intends to use his experience to develop skills that he will one day hopefully use as a NASA employee.
"It's amazing news. The fact that NASA is going to pay me to work at their facilities is an amazing feeling because I didn't see myself getting to this level this early in my career," said Betady. "Prior to this there were a lot of obstacles and bumps in the road, but my ultimate goal is still to eventually be employed by NASA. I can't wait to get there and work."