Annapolis, M.D. resident Benjamin Baron ’24 came to Arcadia with some unusual work experience: an internship with The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
The Computer Science major spent his past two summers interning at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., working in NASA’s Information Technology and Communications Directorate.
“A lot of what I did was building websites using Drupal, WordPress, and other content management systems,” Baron said, who is a captain of Arcadia’s Rocket League Esports team. “Customers at Goddard would come to me with a complaint about a site that was made by somebody else, and I would fix it.”
Some of the NASA websites that Baron built are still live today. But that’s not all Baron did at his time at Goddard. He also handled all of the IT work for the daycare center on Goddard’s campus, as well as worked extensively with the location’s Amazon Web Services, which is Amazon's cloud computing service, to make the systems more accessible.
“I didn't know my interest would be in compliance and making sure that people who are deaf or blind can actually access all of the things that we create,” Baron said. “So a lot of that first summer was interacting with a lot of blind and deaf employees to understand what we could do to make sites accessible.”
Though it’s less known than the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Goddard Space Flight Center is actually more significant in the day-to-day operations of NASA, with approximately 10,000 people working on the campus every day across fields.
While Baron’s internship was with the Information Technology and Communications Directorate, his favorite experience was seeing up close the James Webb Space Telescope, a space telescope that is planned to succeed the Hubble Space Telescope as NASA's flagship astrophysics mission.
“The James Webb Space Telescope and Hubble Space Telescope experiences were awesome,” Baron said. “The internship program shows you everything, like the education department and the flight software department. I got to see all the different stuff and meet the people that make it work.”
Baron was recruited to be captain of the Rocket League Esports team, as he had five years of competitive experience under his belt as well as experience coaching several teams. As well as being a team captain, Baron is also working to recruit new and upcoming players.