DMACC’s Salazar lands NASA summer internship in California

Pedro Salazar of Des Moines, a student at the DMACC Boone campus, recently landed a summer internship with NASA, working on building short-range drones for search-and-rescue operations. Photo courtesy DMACC

BOONE, Iowa — Pedro Salazar of Des Moines, a student at the DMACC Boone campus, was recently received a summer 2020 internship with the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Salazar, a 2015 graduate of East High School in Des Moines, will spend his summer at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, working on building short-range drones for search-and-rescue operations.

“I will be designing and assembling drones that can be used for U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue missions,” Salazar said.

Salazar is no stranger to NASA. During the fall 2019 semester, he was accepted into the 12-week NASA Lucy Student Pipeline Accelerator and Competency Enabler (L’SPACE) Virtual Academy. The virtual program was designed around NASA’s upcoming 2021 Lucy mission to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids for the first time.

Salazar also completed the NASA Community Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program and is currently in the NASA proposal writing and evaluation worksho[, where he develops and evaluates a NASA proposal.

“I felt that NASA has opened many doors for me and other DMACC students,” he said. “These opportunities had helped me grow both individually and intellectually. In the Academy, they are always telling us of different opportunities within the agency for undergrads and encouraging us to apply. I hope that this will encourage more students to apply for these fantastic programs.”

Salazar said his paid 10-week drone-design internship will run from June 1 to Aug. 7. After graduating from DMACC in May, he plans to transfer to a four-year college or university in order to pursue a degree in aerospace engineering with a minor in international business. Graduate studies will follow.

I hope to one day work at NASA as an engineer after the completion of my bachelor’s and Ph.D. degrees,” said Salazar.

Dr. Nancy Woods, DMACC Boone professor of math and physics, said Salazar’s prospects look bright.

“Pedro was the first DMACC student to participate in the NASA L’SPACE Virtual Academy,” Woods said, “and is now continuing his relationship through a paid summer internship. I’m very proud of him. Pedro and his team will be doing researching that ultimately could save lives.”

Dan Ivis is the media liaison for DMACC.


  1. We really need the ability to post youtube videos here;-) Elton John’s Rocket Man would really be a nice video for this man. Maybe someday Perry Iowa schools will be known for producing NASA scientists as he will be someday.


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