For college senior Maya Frey, the summer of 2022 was unlike any other. NASA’s highly selective Student Airborne Research Program provided the Croton-on-Hudson resident and a fleet of other bright students with hands-on research experience led by experts at NASA and outstanding university faculty at the Armstrong Flight Research Center, in Palmdale, CA.
Frey is a rising senior at Mount Holyoke College, majoring in environmental studies and minoring in biology, whose interest in environmental science stems from her desire to study “how the different pieces of the world around us work.” In the second week of her internship, Frey was presented with the unique experience of flying over Southern California on a NASA DC-8 as she collected airborne data samples, though her favorite aspect of the internship, she says, was the freedom “to choose a topic we want to work on and to be able to study something new.”
During the final weeks of the program, the interns conducted an independent research project from the data they had collected. Frey, who was in the Oceans Remote Sensing Group, researched the impact that ash (as well as other particles from a wildfire) has on the biology of a lake. After college, Frey intends to enroll in graduate school, where she plans to study ecology.