When most people learn I am an economics major, they assume I have an internship in finance or banking. However, instead of dealing with interest rates, my internship has me looking at different worlds. Both science and economics deal with large datasets and use analytical skills. My passion for space initially drew me to this opportunity, but I know the skills that I learn will help me later in my career.
Around fifteen years ago, the University of Michigan proudly watched as their instrument, FIPS, sailed to planet Mercury aboard the MESSENGER (Mercury Surface, Space Environment, Geochemistry, and Ranging) Spacecraft. Entering orbit in 2011, the FIPS instrument would continue to collect and gather data for five years before impacting the planet. Fast forward to 2016, and I am hired to compile a database on the data FIPS collected. While I had a comprehensive role last year, this year I aim to uncover interesting phenomena out of smaller proportions of data. This is what attracted to me to work here again.
Furthermore, working in research has taught me the beauty in perspectives. As I continue this internship, I learn more about the art of science. Similar to writing, science requires a great deal of revision. Looking at the data in different ways will help us learn more about the science at Mercury. I am excited to dive deeper into the research process and learn more about the planet closest to the Sun.
[Image Credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Carnegie Institution of Washington]