Week 10: That's A Wrap!

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Monday, August 16, 2021


Gina Pantano

Hello everyone! The SPS 2021 Internship program has finally come to a close. I had such an amazing summer, and I am so proud of all the wonderful work the interns accomplished. If you haven’t watched the 2021 SPS Symposium yet, you can check out our projects using this link: https://youtu.be/S1eD9dOdhGM. Joseph and I share our work we did with the EXCLAIM team starting at 1:17:45. Here is what I did during my last week!

Weekly Agenda

On Monday, I attended our detector meeting, instrument meeting, and science and analysis meeting for the last time. The team shared updates on their individual projects as we approach major critical design reviews (CDRs) in the upcoming months in preparation for the engineering flight. Afterwards, I worked on my presentation slides and finished last minute changes to my project. On Tuesday, I had the MKID meeting, and afterwards, the intern cohort and AIP staff had a virtual tour of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. We heard from several scientists working in different laboratories at the GSFC about their research and ongoing missions. On Wednesday, I had my high-fidelity meeting with my mentors and got to practice my presentation before the NASA symposium. I spent the rest of the day fixing my presentation slides based on the suggestions from my mentors. On Thursday, I had my 10-minute presentation for the NASA Symposium with Joseph, and I got to say my goodbyes to the EXCLAIM team. Later on in the afternoon, we had our SPS Symposium practice. We split up into two groups with Brad and Kayla to receive critiques on our presentation. Dr. Conrad gave us all AMAZING suggestions for our presentations, and I learned a lot on how to give an effective and professional talk. On Friday, we had our SPS Symposium in the afternoon. This was by far the largest audience I have given a talk for, but I am happy I did not have to see their faces XD. 

Overall Experience and Feelings

It is bittersweet now that the program is over. I am sad I am not able to continue my work with the EXCLAIM team and get to hang with the interns, but I am also excited to utilize what I have learned for my computational research at USF. I am proud of the work I accomplished with my project, but I wish I was able to integrate my code with the limlam mocker to simulate the intensity maps and also add in noise based on the EXCLAIMs detector model. Regardless, I learned a lot from my time at NASA, and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to network with amazing scientists. I hope in the near future I can find a full-time federal position at one of NASA’s branches through the connections I made. I also plan on applying to their postdoctoral and fellowship programs while attending USF.


Thank you to everyone who made this opportunity possible in spite of the pandemic! I first want to thank my friends and faculty at the University of Tampa for helping develop my passion for physics and research, especially Dr. Ethan Deneault, Dr. Morgan McAnally, Dr. Simon Schuler, and Dr. Catherine Kennedy. I also want to thank the entire SPS/AIP staff for designing and funding the internship program, especially Dr. Brad Conrad, Kayla Stephens, and Mikayla Cleaver for making this summer such a fun experience and supporting us along the way. Thank you to the GSFC and the entire EXCLAIM team for being so welcoming and providing endless events and opportunities to network with scientists and get involved. A special thank you to my mentors Dr. Eric Switzer and Trevor Oxholm for your assistance throughout the summer and teaching me the science behind EXCLAIM. Lastly, thank you to my parents for your endless support and encouragement that helps keep me going even when things get hard.

Happy Researching!



Gina Pantano (she/her/hers)