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Observer People

Ms. Jacqueline Castellanos

Intern - NASA JPL
NASA JPL Summer Intern - GLOBE Mosquito Habitat Mapper

This is the third of a series of profiles highlighting the accomplishments of NASA's 2019 Summer Interns.

 

What did you work on this summer?

I explored correlations between remote sensing variables and mosquito abundance data collected by citizen scientists. I looked at the GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper data collected by citizen scientists. I separated the data into smaller groups based on larval count, organization that collected the data, and total amount of days the data was collected. Then, I spatially clustered the data based on radius. These methods helped me find the data that I could correlate with remote sensing variables. The variables that I explored were mosquito habitat conditions such as air temperature, soil moisture, precipitation, and vegetation.

 

What did you learn from the GLOBE Observer data?

The GLOBE Observer Mosquito Habitat Mapper data helped me identify places where citizen scientists were finding mosquitoes. High amounts of observations taken at one location does not necessarily indicate that the data was taken through time. The spike in observations could represent a training session or a class making observations. I learned that there are many people around the world willing to volunteer their time to help us better understand our environment.

 

What have you studied, and how has your education prepared you for this position?

I am a Computer Science and Engineering major. I have taken classes in C, C++, and Java. I completed an internship Summer 2018 at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). My project involved a lot of R programming, and prepared me to work with the GLOBE Observer data this summer 2019.

 

Any advice to younger students that would like to pursue internship at NASA?

My best advice would be to seize the opportunity and apply. You will never know the outcome if you do not try. Before you submit, have someone you trust review your application. Highlight your strengths and desire to make a research contribution.

 

Parting thoughts on your summer at NASA?

I had an amazing experience this summer at NASA JPL. I visited the Mars 2020 testbed and NISAR testbed. I learned about mapping disasters from outer space and oceans melting Greenland. I went on a hike in search of mosquitoes and gave a presentation to teachers. Working on my project made me more interested in learning about data science and earth science. Overall, an unforgettable experience. I would love to return to NASA someday.