Applied Psychology Internship: ⠀⠀⠀ ⠀ Human Factors

Gain Experience / Training in:

The intern will work within a collegiate rocketry Operations Department which handles all preparations for rocket engine ground tests and rocket launches within the state of New York and in New Mexico during yearly launches at the Spaceport America Cup (SAC).

Specifically, they will be assigned to the Applied Human Factors Research Group which has several applied research concentrations including:

  • Industrial Safety Practices
  • Procedure Design / Role of Procedures in Human-Machine Complex Systems
  • Instrumentation / User Interface Design and Layout

The intern can also build their own research concentration based on their specific interests apart from the ones listed.

Desired Abilities & Experience:

It is understood that the intern will not have any prior experience in collegiate rocketry or human factors. However, Applied Human Factors is first and foremost a research group. Interns are expected to be open to learning new things as a matter of course, and to improving their communication and teamwork skills. An instructive guide on the kinds of qualities that will serve you well in this and any other research group are Richard Hamming’s “qualities of great researchers”:

  1. Have the courage to tackle the important problems
    1. These are the grand challenges that will make a significant difference, not just the “safe” research
    2. Attackable, meaning there is a way to begin solving the problems
  2. Start with independent thoughts and then collaborate with others
  3. Make steady progress; be driven and focused
  4. Redirect something difficult into something that is easier
  5. Are open to learning things outside their own field; “knowledge is like compound interest”.
  6. Tolerate ambiguity:
    1. Believe in self enough to proceed
    2. Doubt self-enough to honestly see flaws
  7. Communicate well
    1. Write well
    2. Present well
    3. Able to communicate work into executive level communications
  8. Honest with personal flaws and work towards overcoming them (converting liabilities into assets)

Responsibilities / Learning Objectives:

  • Conduct research and make connections to possible applications within the world of collegiate rocketry
  • Work within teams composed of those outside your major or chosen discipline
  • Communicate one’s research to those with no psychological background and/or to those in planning in management positions
  • Think creatively in a multifaceted organization requiring cooperation and communication
  • Build confidence in your ability as a researcher
  • Do fulfilling work and have fun!

If you are interested in this internship, contact Dr. Richard Paino ( ) and (reference HLA-2)