Mar 27, 2019 Today we spotlight Alex Younger, a student who received the opportunity to intern with NASA in Fall 2018. Alex is studying Geographic Information Systems and has a heart to use his major to help people across the nation. Read more below! 1. Where are you from, and what brought you to UAH? I am from a small town called Waxhaw, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina. What brought me to UAH was how much of an impact the people of this school made on me. On my very first tour, I was already making friends with students and faculty alike. Being so far from home, I needed that kind of connection. 2. What made you choose to study Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and have you always had a passion for this kind of study? I chose GIS because I have a passion for helping others, and with GIS I can use satellite data to help people make informed decisions regarding a variety of fields. I have not necessarily always had a passion for GIS. In fact, when I first came to UAH, I was majoring in Chemical Engineering. However, I have always wanted to help people. 3. Last Fall you got an internship with NASA. What sorts of opportunities did you take advantage of to get this internship? I used my past experience in on-campus jobs here at UAH to get this internship. Having so many connections means I could get help anytime I needed it, which is another reason I love UAH. I was able to use my supervisors at my various on-campus jobs as references, which helped me immensely. 4. What lessons did you learn from your time with NASA? I learned that working in a professional environment is very different from working an on-campus job. You have to be efficient and productive in order to get the job done, and in my internship specifically, efficiency was key. 5. How did you become a better employee and person after being with them? At the end of my internship, I was given the opportunity to reflect on what I had learned and I was shocked at how much I had grown since beginning the internship just ten weeks prior. I learned valuable skills in my field, as well as good career skills like networking and presenting. I highly recommend that other students take advantage of internship opportunities. 6. What types of jobs do you want to pursue in the future with this degree? In the future, I want to work to help others using satellite data. I want to work as part of a team to help save the environment and improve life for people all over the world. I firmly believe GIS is a crucial part of the effort to monitor and predict climate change. 7. If you could go back in time and tell your freshman self anything, what would it be and why? I would tell my freshman self to pace himself. Don’t get involved too much and burn yourself out. Everybody should have a healthy balance between work, school, and their social life. Putting too much effort into any one of them can cause you to become burnt out, which is what happened to me. 8. What is one of the best kept secrets at UAH that others should know about? The University Fitness Center is one of the most underrated places on campus. If you’re having a bad day and you need to just work out it, the UFC is the place to be. If you’re a full time student, then you can take advantage of the UFC for no additional charge. They have a pool, basketball courts, a cardio deck, and a weight room, so there’s something for everyone there. If you are interested in a similar position to the internship Alex had, be sure to check out Develop. As always, check us out every Wednesday to hear more about our awesome students and ways to develop in the professional world!