The annual national contest for NASA internship was organized by MITA for the 4th time. The winners of this contest are: Justina Žvirblytė, undergraduate of Biophysics at Vilnius University; Gintarė Plečkaitytė master student of Nanomaterials Chemistry at Vilnius University; Vladas Jurgis Labanauskas, undergraduate of Aviation at Kaunas University of Technology and Julija Kravčenko, undergraduate of Biomedical Electronics at Kaunas University of Technology.
"We are very happy that the National Aeronautics and Space Administration has approved the list of 4 selected national candidates and has provided an opportunity for most talented Lithuanian students to gain experience in a prestigious internship program", said Kęstutis Šetkus, director of MITA.
During the internship program at NASA Ames the students will have an opportunity to work with various projects.
J.Žvirblytė will work closely with NASA scientists and engineers to culture mouse embryonic stem cells and model gravity. If conducted successfully, this research may enable the development of novel tissue regenerative approaches to tissue degeneration such as that induced by spaceflight in microgravity.
J.Kravcenko will join the team that supports the development and testing of the Medical Data Architecture in support of the Human Research Programme.
V.J.Labanauskas will work on aeromechanical research activities and contribute to the Aeromechanics Office's rotorcraft research, which has both theoretical and experimental components.
G.Plečkaitytė will be involved in studying a tremendous potential of nanomaterials, such as carbon nanotubes, graphene and a variety of inorganic nanowires, for future nanoelectronics, nanosensors and related devices.
According to MITA internship program coordinator Sigutė Stankevičiūtė, Lithuania was not able to take part in the summer internship program. The reason behind that was an unexpected halt in the work of the US authorities, including NASA. After a short delay, preparations for the autumn traineeship program continued, opening the gates for students from Lithuania.
In total, this year 28 students from Vilnius University, Kaunas University of Technology, Vilnius Gediminas Technical University, Vytautas Magnus University and Kaunas College competed in the national competition.
The estimated duration of internship program at NASA Ames Research Center is 16 weeks (until 14 December 2018). Selected trainees from all around the world will work on specific research projects and will have the opportunity to contribute to the most advanced research and development of space technology.
Student internships are funded by Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology Agency (MITA) and the Ministry of Education and Science.
About Lithuanian cooperation with NASA
In 2014 The Agency for Science, Innovation and Technology (MITA) and NASA signed a bilateral cooperation agreement on International Internship Program (NASA I²).
The agreement was signed during a visit of the Government of the Republic of Lithuania to the United States. Only 12 countries in the world (Australia, Brazil, Israel, Jordan, Mexico, Lithuania, Portugal, South Africa, South Korea, Sweden, Trinidad and Tobago and the United Arab Emirates) and European Space Agency have agreements with NASA, which opens possibilities for students to participate in summer and autumn internships.
Lithuania has already sent 21 students to NASA Internships: 2018 – 4, 2017 – 12, 2016 – 3, 2015 – 2.