Erin Potrzebowski

Company: Johnson Space Center
Company URL:
School: Mechanical Engineering
Hometown: Westville, Indiana
High School: Cherterton High School, 2004
Expected Graduation: May 2009

When asked when or how her interest in space started, Erin says she always wanting to be part of the exploration of space. According to Erin, "From my earliest memories, I have wanted to work on our country‚s space program. I grew-up loving the idea of exploration for the sake of exploration. One early memory I recalls is my favorite episode of The Magic School Bus where the Magic Bus went to space and traveled back home.

My search story is different than most because as a senior in high school, I researched the NASA/Johnson Website and learned college students are often hired as both interns and cooperative education students at both NASA in Florida and Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Furthermore, I learned that both centers hire lots of Purdue students. I was thrilled to think that Purdue University, less than 100 miles from her hometown in Indiana, might help me accomplish my first space mission: that of landing a job at either NASA or Johnson Space Center. Two  important events happened for me during my freshman year to help me attain my goals. First of all, I decided that mechanical engineering offered the best opportunities for me. Then, I was accepted into Purdue’s Cooperative Education Program. I immediately applied to NASA/Johnson through the Website. Now, at age 20, I have completed my first session at the Johnson Space Center and I am well on my way, via the Co-Op Program, to realizing my lifelong dream.

Excitement ran high for me this summer when a piece of equipment hardware that I had worked on was in place on the July, 2006 Shuttle flight into space. My work involved the foam applicator that is used to patch very small, less than π inch diameter holes that can occur from debris in the Shuttle during flight. The foam is used to prevent the crew cabin from losing air when these minute cracks occur.