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Internship success: Bakula reaches for stars with NASA, Boeing

Bakula poses in front of American and NASA flags.

MAE senior Lara Bakula interned at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and with Boeing in St. Louis. Photo courtesy of Lara Bakula.

MU Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering senior Lara Bakula maximized her engineering and leadership skills this year, landing an internship at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and with Boeing in St. Louis. Learn a little more about her internships in her own words.

Bakula: At NASA, I was exposed to so many out-of-this-world opportunities. With most of my exposure amid the Orion program (the manned space capsule to be sent to Mars), I also got great experience working with the International Space Program (ISS) and the Lunar Orbital Platform – Gateway (LOP-G). I helped my team plan and carry out a $50,000 fire scenario test as well as contributing to other important Orion emergency scenario equipment that will be instrumental in protecting life in the coming missions to space. The internship gave me clarity on my future career in the aerospace industry and solidified my passion for space. It also gave me instrumental project management skills through my stellar mentor, who I plan to be stay connected with throughout the rest of my career.

This summer at Boeing has given me the most involved role I have taken as an intern yet. My manager gave me a lot of responsibility with this being my second internship in the group, even making me a point of contact to another Boeing team. Most of the internship was dedicated to the Conceptual Design and Trade Study of an actuation device. I loved my experience with this because I got to apply what I have learned in school through mechanism design and also apply my creativity to the role. Working on a very tight timeline and with much less resources than this type of project would typically be given, my team worked together to finish the project. This lead to a final presentation which my manager and I gave to representatives in the Navy in Washington, D.C. Overall, the internship gave me real hands-on work, taught me the problem solving skills needed in industry and certainly did not treat me as just an intern.

Learn more about how The Engineering Leadership, Engagement and Career Development Academy can help students prepare for their future. And check back throughout the summer for more stories about how internships helped shape Mizzou engineers for success!

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