Tennessee State student La Toy Jones reaches for stars in NASA education
La Toy Jo’nil Jones, an undergraduate student in business administration
at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tenn., is working in the
U.S. space program as part of a NASA Contracting Intern Program.
Jones recently completed an assignment at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight
Center in Huntsville, Ala., supporting the space agency’s Microgravity
Research Program. Microgravity is the unique condition of low gravity
– commonly called weightlessness -- created by a spacecraft orbiting
For three months, Jones has worked as part of the NASA Contracting
Intern Program on simplified acquisitions – a process that involves
awarding purchase orders for commercially available goods and services.
These are required to support research, design, development, fabrication,
and other activities involving both ground- and space-based microgravity
The Marshall Center is NASA’s lead facility for development of space
transportation and propulsion systems, and manages all propulsion elements
that carry the Space Shuttle from launch to orbit.
In addition to exploring new rocket technology, Marshall manages the
science experiments onboard the International Space Station.
“Working at the Marshall Center has been a great experience,” Jones
said. “It is a great opportunity to expand my knowledge within the work
force. I feel very fortunate to have been selected for the NASA Contracting
The NASA Contracting Intern Program combines a student’s academic study
with a paid career-related work experience. Students must be enrolled
in the cooperative education program at their school and be referred
to NASA Headquarters by the school’s cooperative education administrator.
This program places students in full-time positions directly related
to their field of study. Participants alternate periods of study at
their schools with periods of work at NASA centers.
Jones, a 1998 graduate of Willowridge High School in Houston, will
continue her studies at Tennessee State University this fall. She is
the daughter of Willie Mae Wilson of Houston.
For more information on the NASA Contracting Intern Program, visit
the Web site at:
For more information on the Marshall Center’s cooperative education
programs, visit the Web sites at: