Dylan Baker ’16 completed internships with NASA at the Stennis and Goddard Space Centers.
Year: Class of 2016
Major: Computer Engineering
Hometown: New Bedford, MA
Internship: NASA – Stennis and Goddard Space Centers
Research: "Secure Orbital Detection Array (SODA): A Case Study to Secure the Internet of Things"
Next steps: Software engineer, Goddard Space Center
Research on internet security
I’ve been interested in science and technology for as long as I can remember. As I learned more about computers, I realized how great the potential for this technology is, and I ultimately knew that I wanted to become a computer engineer.
I've had an interest in the Internet of Things (IoT) for a few years. It's clear that the technology is going to continue to become a major part of our lives.
It's also powerful to hackers and other malicious entities. As a result, I wanted to look into what would be required to ensure that the technology is safe.
I learned a lot about the IoT and networking security through my research. I might want to pursue more on the security side of things in the future.
Internships with NASA
I applied for the internship at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi through NASA's One Stop Shopping Initiative website (OSSI). While I thought it was a long shot, I put my best efforts into the application. I was selected to work on developing the Sargassum Early Advisory System (SEAS) web application. I worked on the project with another student, my NASA mentor, other NASA-affiliated staff, and a team from Texas A&M University.
In its final incarnation, SEAS will take in data from Landsat satellites and ocean buoys to determine the extent and trajectory of Sargassum seaweed. This data is useful for coastal managers and other coastal stakeholders in the Gulf of Mexico, because it gives them an early warning so they can arrange timely cleanup efforts.
This was my first real-world engineering experience. It taught me a lot about what it’s like to work in the field as part of a team and enhanced my knowledge of the engineering process, as well as my programming abilities. The experience taught me about myself and how I work, and I learned skills that will be important in my career.
Last year, I co-oped with NASA at the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. I learned about ground system satellites, as well as API development. This experience also helped me improve my software engineering skills.
Learning as a tutor
Being a tutor at the Writing and Reading Center has been a great experience. I’ve discovered a lot about the learning process by being a tutor.
The computer engineering curriculum has also kept me busy. The engineering program here is truly world-class, and the professors are an excellent resource.
Working at Goddard and graduate study
I'll be able to work full-time as a software engineer with NASA Goddard once I graduate. I'm also planning to enroll part-time in graduate computer engineering classes here at UMass Dartmouth.