The Journal Gazette
Thursday, July 22, 2021 1:00 am

NASA internship allows local teen to live dream

Rod King | For The Journal Gazette

Sixteen-year-old Charis Hall has a dream to one day work for NASA, and she hopes, become an astronaut.

She's already taken a step toward that dream by accepting a summer internship, becoming the only student from Indiana to be chosen for the internship.

Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, instead of packing her bags to head to Texas for the program, Hall will be getting instructions from NASA and the program's sponsor, the University of Texas, working on assigned projects, consulting with other members of her team and reporting her findings on her computer from her Fort Wayne home.

Hall, who has always been interested in space, galaxies and stars, says she has wanted to be an astrophysicist since she was young. While researching NASA on the internet this year, she found out about the internship program and applied online. 

She received an invitation via email in April to participate in the program, which began in early July. Hall is part of a 10-person student team that will be working with NASA scientists and engineers to analyze Earth and space data from satellites. Hall says the team will conduct research in astronomy and astrophysics and writing coding language for use in Earth and space training.

Her team will correspond regularly and during the first week of August present their findings and discoveries in an online symposium to NASA and the University of Texas.

In addition to being the only Hoosier, Hall also is the only high school and home-schooled student in the program. The rest of her team are college students.

Hall also is participating in an internship with StarGazer Enterprise, a contributor to NASA.

Hall says being home-schooled gave her the freedom to explore her scientific interests. Looking ahead, she's hoping to attend space camp next summer and will be looking for a college with a doctoral program in astrophysics.

When she's not studying the stars and galaxies, she enjoys sketching and painting and playing piano. Hall also is working on being a star by performing with her sisters, Kenady and Cayley, in the musical group The Angel Project. Hall does the vocals.

The group has been performing at weddings and festivals for the past three years.

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