As a youngster, Abigail Mangsen '20 developed a fascination with space exploration. Now, a marketing major with a minor in communications management, Abigail is completing a multifaceted internship at NASA -- an experience that has led her to discover a passion for technology, innovating thinking, and leading others.
Pursuing an internship with NASA
I've always had an interest in technology, innovation, and space exploration. This past summer I worked as an agency communications intern for the NASA Internship program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. With this internship, I was paired with a mentor, Christine Linsinbigler, NASA Internships Coordinator, Communications Lead, and Disabilities Coordinator. Christine gave me incredible opportunities and worked to help me learn as much as possible over a 10-week summer period.
I worked to prepare for intern orientations, conducted social media research, created content for the NASA Internships’ social media pages, and helped to plan and organize an International Space Station Downlink event for NASA Interns. This event was particularly exciting because I got to work with team members in Houston, Texas to develop a communications plan and plan the event. I was lucky enough to fly down to Houston for the event and moderate the event on NASA TV along with two other interns.
Gaining real-world experience
This internship has benefited me in more ways than I can count. Because NASA emphasizes the importance of creativity, no idea is impossible. I was challenged every single day. In a 10-week period, I was able to learn from some of the most intelligent and motivating people I have ever met. I feel as though I am much more prepared for a Marketing/Communications position in the future. I highly encourage other students to aim high when applying to internships and certainly encourage them to apply out of state. Nothing is too far out of reach. I am currently continuing my internship with NASA throughout fall 2018.
At my internship with NASA Langley Research Center this summer, I was given the opportunity to write the script, film, and announce the intern challenge for #NASAInterns across the agency. I have been conducting social media research for the NASA Internships program since my internship started in May of 2018.
As I continue with the internship program, my goal is to help NASA Internships’ optimize their social media presence and enhance their current brand in order to inspire and engage their audience. I have had help from my mentor, Christine Linsinbigler, as well as several other employees who have given me wonderful feedback on my work. The people who have helped me are incredibly supportive and motivating. I have much to learn from them. As a marketing major, it has been a great experience for me to learn about the specifics of social media.
Engaging in faculty-guided research projects
As part of my coursework at the Charlton College of Business, I participated in a business research project for the business professional’s organization Collegiate DECA. My partner, Thomas Lindberg, and I worked with the local business, Standard Marine Outfitters, to optimize their online presence.
We decided to do a business research project because we knew it would teach us valuable information about conducting research, putting that research into a formal research paper, and presenting the research in a way that is easily understood.
Several UMassD faculty members, including Jacqueline Einstein, Paul Bacdayan, Steven White, and David Bell, assisted us in our research and help us with our presentation skills. They were readily available whenever we had questions or concerns. We were extremely grateful. Thomas and I ended up placing 1st in the business research category at the 2018 International Career Development Conference in Washington D.C.
Realizing a passion for leadership
I have held a few different leadership positions since I’ve been on campus. I am a Charlton College of Business Student Ambassador, a New Student Orientation Leader, and I am currently the Vice President of the Collegiate DECA Chapter.
Each of these roles came with their own set of challenges, but through all of them, I have learned to be a better leader, a team player, and a better listener. Through these roles, I have become an avid public speaker and have been able to work in and lead large groups of people with very diverse backgrounds. These roles have certainly grown my soft and made me a much more well-rounded candidate for the future.
Since being in leadership positions I have realized I have a passion for leading groups of people which is why I picked up a management minor. Whether it be planning an event, running a meeting, or simply leading an icebreaker, I enjoy leading others through the process. I would love to obtain a career in the future that requires a level of leadership.
Planning for the future
In the future, I am hoping to obtain a position in the Public Relations/Marketing field. Over the last several months, I have learned that I have a passion for interacting with and sharing my knowledge of different topics with others. NASA is certainly in my line of vision, but I am staying open-minded with my job search.