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Zimmerman School senior, Gracie Glover, outside of the Office of Admissions building on the USF Tampa campus. (Photo courtesy of Gracie Glover)

Zimmerman School senior, Gracie Glover, outside of the Office of Admissions building on the USF Tampa campus. (Photo courtesy of Gracie Glover)

Zimmerman School student’s internship with NASA boosts her hopes for the future

Gracie Glover, a senior at the Zimmerman School of Advertising & Mass Communications, recently completed an internship at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) headquarters with the Office of STEM Engagement. During her time there, she focused on creating social media content and articles that showcased the contributions of fellow interns and promoted diversity within NASA organizations nationwide.

Gracie Glover. (Photo courtesy of Gracie Glover)

Gracie Glover. (Photo courtesy of Gracie Glover)

Glover grew up in the Tampa Bay area with a fondness for reading and writing. From a young age, her fascination with space began early and was inspired by her grandfather who worked at NASA on the Saturn V Rocket during the historic Space Race of the 1970s. This familial tie, along with the support of her parents and sister, inspired Glover to seek creative roles in the hopes of returning to NASA one day.

“I am very close with my family members. Both of my parents are teachers in Pasco County, so I grew up in a very academic household. They taught me everything, shaping my understanding of work ethic, dedication, and what it means to be a good person. They are the most supportive family, and I don’t think I could have accomplished what I have without them behind me. They are always in my corner, and I don’t think they have ever left it,” Glover said.

Upon arriving at USF, Glover decided to pursue the major integrated public relations and advertising, with a minor in public service and leadership. She actively engaged in numerous on-campus employment opportunities, including her role as a project assistant at the Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement. In this position, she contributed to the development of engagement strategies for undergraduate programs, created social media content, helped with event planning, and presented content related to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Glover honed her writing skills during high school by joining the school newspaper as a staff writer, eventually becoming editor-in-chief by her senior year. This experience equipped her with a diverse skill set, including copywriting, photography, design, and conducting interviews. She further developed these skills in her classes at USF, such as her writing for public relations class with Dr. Mildred Perreault and advanced public relations class with Dr. Kimberly Walker. These experiences helped prepare Glover for her internship with NASA's OSTEM.

“In my role, I worked for NASA headquarters in a remote position. While there, I wrote social media copy for the official NASA internship social media accounts (@NASAinternships) on assigned topics such as the Citizen Science programs and the NASA Express newsletter. Additionally, I wrote alternative text for images posted and I wrote three published articles highlighting the work of NASA interns. I had the opportunity to choose the interns and stories I wrote from a survey database of intern responses from across all NASA centers,” Glover explained.

In one of Glover’s publications titled, Intern Blazes the Trail from Wildfire Data Science to Real-World Experience, she wrote about Jenessa Stemke, a Wildland Fire Program intern at NASA. The article highlighted Stemke's resilience in navigating a role with demanding requirements, particularly challenging due to her physical injury. Stemke's determination allowed her to forge her own path, blending her passion for wildfire data science research with her experience in satellite imagery technology. Glover's story demonstrated NASA's extensive range of opportunities including those available to individuals with disabilities.

In a separate publication titled, Decades in the Making: Intern’s Non-Traditional Path to NASA Internship, Glover discusses the journey of intern Mike Fogg. While it was his lifelong dream of working for NASA, Fogg initially hesitated to apply due to his older age. It was only after receiving encouragement from a mentor that he pursued an internship opportunity through NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. During his internship, he contributed to updating the TechPort website and other related databases. Glover emphasized that NASA is an inclusive workplace that provides opportunities regardless of age or background.

Gracie Glover obtaining her NASA ID card at the Kennedy Space Center located on Merritt Island, Fla. (Photo courtesy of Gracie Glover)

Gracie Glover obtaining her NASA ID card at the Kennedy Space Center located on Merritt Island, Fla. (Photo courtesy of Gracie Glover)

Looking back on her experience, Glover described writing the stories for Stemke and Fogg as a uniquely rewarding experience. She also shared how this internship opportunity has contributed significantly to her professional development and growth.

“In my internship, I learned how to write creatively while practicing brevity. Social media copy is everywhere and I had to learn how I could write about NASA’s programs while keeping the text engaging and not taking up too much space. I also learned how to handle myself in professional settings. I had weekly meetings with everyone in the OSTEM and communications teams which gave me the chance to learn from those around me. Most importantly, this internship gave me a confidence boost. I have never felt more confident in my work, and more deserving of a seat at the table, than I did after I was offered my position,” Glover said.

With her graduation approaching this upcoming May 5, Glover offers guidance to fellow students interested in pursuing internship opportunities similar to hers at NASA.

“If I can offer anything to students, I would say that it is important to remember that you are in charge of your future. I spent an abundance of time waiting for someone to give me some sort of timeline on how to plan my future and it never came.  If it is going to be your name on your diploma or on your paycheck, then you are responsible for how you get there,” Glover said.

 Visit the Zimmerman School of Adverting & Mass Communications to learn more about current program offerings.

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CAS Chronicles is the monthly newsletter for the University of South Florida's College of Arts and Sciences, your source for the latest news, research, and events at CAS.