Zaira Garate | 2012 | Interns

Zaira Garate (’13)

Brownsville, TX

Jeffrey L. Pressman Intern

Aerospace Engineering Major

Federal Aviation Administration

This summer I was an intern at the Federal Aviation Administration's Office of Commercial Space Transportation. I worked primarily with the Regulation and Analysis Division which allowed me to see the federal rulemaking process firsthand. As part of the FAA, I had the unique opportunity to register for a series of professional training courses in systems engineering where I learned how this federal agency plans to streamline the next generation of air traffic control systems. Thanks to my supervisors' support, I attended multiple industry and student conferences where I met many members of Washington's space community. These events were eye opening for me. I was able to meet dozens of people who are as passionate about space as I am and who use their unique talents and skills to develop new technologies and educate the public. It was certainly very different from MIT's academic approach to science and engineering. In order to grow, the industry needs people who can act as liaisons between the technical experts and the policymakers. This realization has given me a whole new set of possible career paths to explore.

Outside work, my fellow interns and I had the honor to meet several leaders in the field of science and technology policy. These conversations definitely reshaped the way I understand how American domestic and foreign policy is formed. I am now able to watch the news and interpret current events through a different perspective.

Overall, my time as a member of the MIT Washington Summer Internship Program has been the most rewarding experience of my undergraduate years. I hope to use the lessons learned through this summer in my future academic and professional career.